The Oakland Raiders made their first free agent splash locking up former St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold to a five year deal. General manager Reggie McKenzie looks to have acquired Saffold as a replacement for left tackle Jared Veldheer, who bolted the Raiders for the Arizona Cardinals.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the deal is for five years and 42.5 million with 21 million guaranteed.
Saffold was drafted by the Rams in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft. He started every game as a rookie at left tackle. Last season, he started nine of 12 games for the Rams bouncing between left tackle, right tackle, and right guard. A shoulder injury cost him four games in the earlier part of the season, but he returned to make seven consecutive starts to finish the year.
At 6'5", 330 pounds and 25 years old, Saffold is a massive human being. However, that frame has not held up so well in the past three seasons. He has started 44 of 47 games in his four year career, but has missed games in each of the past three seasons. He missed four games in 2013, six games in 2012, and seven games in 2011.
The bottom line for the Raiders is they are paying Saffold left tackle money. McKenzie loves players who have the versatility to play different positions, but it would seems Saffold will line up as the Raiders' left tackle. This could impact their 2014 NFL Draft strategy to beef up the offensive line, but the team has more needs to address before that picture becomes more clear.Tags: Football, free agent, Jared Veldheer, NFL, NFL Draft, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, Rodger Saffold, St. Louis Rams