Oakland Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie decided not to place a franchise or transition tag on the team's most prized free agents, tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive end Lamarr Houston. Those decisions have been met with scrutiny, but remain business savvy.
The price tags for both Houston and Veldheer were monstrous with the tags applied. Veldheer would have earned either 10.039 or 13.116 million. Houston would have been paid 10.633 or 13.116 million for one season guaranteed. If McKenzie decided to put those numbers on each player, it would have been more difficult to move long term negotiations forward. Veldheer and Houston would have a case that the Raiders believed they were worth double digit million a year paydays. So when long term negotiations were revisited, both players would have had those enormous figures in mind.
No question Veldheer and Houston are both part of the Raiders future plan. McKenzie sacrificed the final call in keeping both for a season to try and find a more reasonable, longer term solution. McKenzie has been frugal because of the Raiders salary cap situations in the past. Now, with more than 65 million in space this offseason, he has the leverage and resources to meet the market value for the potential free agents in his view.
Another reason not using the tag works in McKenzie's favor is the players' absolute aversion to it. Sure, they are guaranteed a large payday for the season, but in a violent sport like NFL football, future is never guaranteed. By no means does not using the tag destroy the Raiders chances of getting both Veldheer and Houston to return. They will have until March 8th to connect on a deal before both are able to talk to different teams. That will be the real test to find their market value and the Raiders still have the funds to meet any offer.Tags: Football, free agents, Jared Veldheer, Lamarr Houston, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, salary cap