Jared Veldheer

Jared Veldheer On Retirement Decision

In a two-week span this May, Jared Veldheer went from the free agent market to the Patriots to retirement. A starter in each of his nine NFL seasons, Veldheer called it quits — largely because of a previous injury.

Serving as the Broncos’ right tackle last season, Veldheer dealt with a knee malady that shelved him for four games. But that was not the health-related concern that drove him to backtrack on his decision to sign with the Patriots.

My hips, particularly my left one, was in pretty bad shape (after the season),” Veldheer said, via MLive.com’s Peter Wallner. “When March rolled around I thought I could give it a go, but once I went out there to do actual football stuff, the hip felt exactly how it did at the end of the season. There was just no way I was going to put my body through that. I couldn’t conceive even trying to make my body do that.”

Stem cell therapy and other treatments did not do the trick, Veldheer added. In addition to this hip trouble, the 32-year-old tackle dealt with a litany of injuries late in his career. An ankle problem ended his 2017 season and lingered into 2018, and early last season Veldheer suffered a concussion. A partially torn triceps muscle ended his 2016 campaign with the Cardinals.

Veldheer signed a one-year, $3.5MM deal with the Patriots, to serve potentially as insurance for Isaiah Wynn. The second-year Patriots left tackle is recovering from the torn Achilles’ tendon that erased his rookie season. After one OTA practice, Veldheer said he informed Bill Belichick of his decision.

(Deciding to retire) was easy because of knowing what my body was telling me, but it was hard because I was leaving a very good situation being with the Patriots,” Veldheer said. “(Belichick) understood, and everyone in the NFL building understands that the sport can do a number on your body and different guys have different timelines on how long they can make it through.”

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Patriots’ Jared Veldheer Retires From NFL

Jared Veldheer signed with the Patriots just two weeks ago, but he’s had a change of heart. On Tuesday, the veteran offensive tackle informed the club that he plans to retire (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss). 

Veldheer was set to play out the 2019 season on a one-year, $3.5MM deal with a maximum value of $6.5MM. That’s significant money to leave on the table, so it’s possible that he is retiring for health reasons.

Veldheer started 12 games in Denver last season and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 58-rated tackle. The veteran, 32 in June, profiled a swing option for the Patriots. Instead, he’ll leave the game after nine seasons with the Raiders, Cardinals, and Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Patriots are expected to scour the offensive line market once again for front five depth.

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Patriots To Sign Jared Veldheer

The Patriots are planning to sign free agent offensive tackle Jared Veldheer later this week, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The veteran met with the Pats last week and, days later, the two sides appear to have agreed on numbers. Once completed, it’ll be a one-year, $3.5MM deal with a maximum value of $6.5MM, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter).

A nine-year veteran, Veldheer started 12 games in Denver last season and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 58-rated tackle. Veldheer has more experience playing left tackle, having lined up there with the Raiders and Cardinals for several years. But, the Cards switched Veldheer and D.J. Humphries in 2017, moving him over to the right side. The 31-year-old (32 in June) may be a swing option for the Patriots in the upcoming year.

New England drafted third-round tackle Yodny Cajuste but lost Trent Brown and LaAdrian Waddle this offseason. Meanwhile, they have 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn coming off a season-nullifying torn Achilles. All of this leaves them with a depth need that Veldheer can fill.

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Patriots Meet With Jared Veldheer

Not much has emerged surrounding Jared Veldheer this offseason. After the Broncos made their annual right tackle switch, pivoting quickly to Ja’Wuan James, their previous option began an anonymous free agency stay.

Veldheer, however, secured a post-draft meeting with the Patriots and visited the defending Super Bowl champions, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This is believed to be Veldheer’s first 2019 visit.

New England drafted third-round tackle Yodny Cajuste but lost Trent Brown and LaAdrian Waddle this offseason. They have 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn coming off a season-nullifying torn Achilles, potentially pointing to a depth need.

A nine-year veteran, Veldheer started 12 games in Denver last season. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 58-rated tackle during his one-season Broncos stint. Veldheer has more experience playing left tackle, having lined up there with the Raiders and Cardinals for several years. But the Cards switched Veldheer and D.J. Humphries in 2017, beginning his right tackle career. The 31-year-old blocker may be a swing option for the Patriots.

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Broncos Rumors: Amos, Barrett, Paradis, James

Here’s the latest on the Broncos, with all links going to Troy Renck of Denver7’s Twitter:

Broncos Rumors: Murray, Paradis, Keenum

Although the Broncos agreed to acquire Joe Flacco, they will still be linked to this year’s top rookie quarterbacks — as they were last year. If Kyler Murray is available at No. 10, they may serve as a spot for teams looking to trade up. John Elway does not appear to believe the shorter passer would be a fit for an offense that will use plenty of under-center looks under new OC Rich Scangarello, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos passed on Josh Allen and Josh Rosen last year and have been connected to Drew Lock. If Denver sticks at No. 10 and chooses a non-quarterback, the team will have had back-to-back top-10 picks without addressing its long-term QB need with one of them. The 2020 draft is expected to have high-profile passers, but it’s obviously no lock the Broncos will be in position to draft or trade up for one.

Here is the latest from Denver (via Indianapolis):

  • Despite the Flacco deal, Elway’s preference is to keep Case Keenum. It would take a restructured deal, though, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Keenum is attached an untenable $21MM cap number. With Flacco set to bring an $18.5MM figure to Denver, it is hard to see Keenum staying due to the pay cut it would require. The 30-year-old incumbent has not requested a trade, Elway said (per the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter), adding the Broncos would allow him to seek one.
  • Matt Paradis probably looms as the Broncos’ top free agent priority. Elway has spoken with the Broncos’ center of the past four years and informed him they would like him back, Jhabvala tweets. But Paradis’ injury and price point will be a factor. The 29-year-old snapper has been expected to reach free agency, where a new market-setting deal may well await him — considering teams’ need for higher-end linemen. However, multiple executives predicted (via O’Halloran, Twitter link) Paradis will end up back in Denver on a one-year deal because of the broken fibula that ended his season last November.
  • The Broncos’ need for a cornerback is as great as it has been in five years, and Elway acknowledged (via Klis, on Twitter) the team needs to find a No. 2 corner to team with All-Pro Chris Harris. This would seem to point to Bradley Roby departing, which has been the expectation. Vic Fangio said (via Jhabvala) the Broncos will let Roby test free agency, a good sign he will not be back in 2019.
  • As for Harris, Elway said the team has not considered an extension yet and whether or not the Broncos do go in this direction will depend on their free agency period, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). However, Renck added earlier (Twitter link) the expectation is the Broncos will meet with Harris’ agent at the Combine. The 29-year-old corner has been one of Denver’s cornerstone players this decade, and with Roby likely to leave and Aqib Talib having been traded, Harris represents the Broncos’ only surefire option at corner. Denver is also set to let Tramaine Brock walk.
  • On its offensive line, Denver will bring back Ronald Leary, Elway confirmed (via Jhabvala, on Twitter). Leary has more than $5MM in injury guarantees due if he cannot pass a physical by March 17. It’s been previously reported the veteran guard will be unable to pass said physical by then. Leary has seen both of his Denver seasons end early because of injury. Also on the Broncos’ O-line: Elway said (per Renck, on Twitter) the team would like to re-sign right tackle starter Jared Veldheer and utility blocker Billy Turner. If Veldheer departs, the Broncos would have a sixth Week 1 right tackle starter in six years.

Broncos Acquire T Jared Veldheer

The Broncos have announced the acquisition of Cardinals offensive lineman Jared Veldheer in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft (on Twitter). Troy Renck of Denver 7, ABC, first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal involving Veldheer and a late-round pick (on Twitter).

Veldheer, 30, is expected to step in and start at right tackle for the Broncos opposite former first-round pick Garett Bolles at left tackle. The Broncos were previously set to go with Menelik Watson at right tackle after he started the team’s first seven games there last season but was then placed on injured reserve with a calf injury.

Veldheer started 13 games for the Cardinals last season before being placed on injured reserve with a broken ankle. He’s appeared in 106 games over an eight-year career, making 101 starts. The Raiders originally selected Veldheer in the third round of the 2010 draft out of Hillsdale. He’s spent the bulk of his career at left tackle before shifting to the right side of the line last season.

The veteran offensive lineman is set to enter the final season of a five-year, $35MM deal signed with the Cardinals and is slated to have a cap hit of $10.16MM for the upcoming season. The Broncos entered the day with $21.28MM in available cap space, which ranked No. 12 in the NFL.

The addition of Veldheer helps round out the Broncos offensive line. Along with Bolles at left tackle, they’re set to return Max Garcia at left guard, Matt Paradis at center and Ronald Leary at right guard.

The deal creates $3.25MM in dead cap space for the Cardinals but does open up $6.9MM in available space. Newly-signed Andre Smith will likely take over at right tackle for the Cardinals with John Wetzel taking over as the team’s starting swing tackle. The Cardinals also helped beef up their offensive line this offseason by adding right guard Justin Pugh in free agency.

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Cardinals Place Jared Veldheer On IR

Left tackle Jared Veldheer is headed to the injured reserve list with a fractured ankle, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday morning (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team website). Meanwhile, right guard Earl Watford is likely to miss time with high ankle sprain. Jared Veldheer (vertical)

The Cardinals have been dealing with offensive line injuries all year long. Starting guard Mike Iupati landed on IR with an elbow injury in Week 4 and season-ending maladies later sidelined offensive linemen D.J. Humphries and Daniel Munyer. Without starters Veldheer and Watford, the Cardinals will have to dig even deeper.

Fifth-round rookie Will Holden figures to move into the starting lineup while center Evan Boehm may be asked to fill-in at right guard. Interior lineman Max Tuerk, who was recently plucked from the Chargers’ taxi squad, could be in line for significant reps. The Cardinals will also likely add an offensive lineman or two to hold them over for the final stretch.

The Cardinals have Veldheer under contract for one more season at a $10.24MM cap number, but they can release him with just $3.25MM in dead money this offseason. Watford is scheduled to hit the open market in March.

The Cardinals advanced to 6-7 on the year with a win over the Titans on Sunday. They’ll wrap up the regular season with games against the Redskins, Giants, and Seahawks in the final three weeks. Even if they run the table, odds are they will not qualify for the playoffs.

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D.J. Humphries Dislocates Kneecap

The Cardinals will be without their starting left tackle for the rest of the season after D.J. Humphries suffered a severe knee injury Thursday night.

Bruce Arians said Friday (via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, on Twitter) that Humphries did not tear his ACL but instead dislocated his kneecap. Humphries, who also has MCL damage, will miss the rest of Arizona’s season. Arians said Thursday night he thought Humphries tore his ACL. While he dodged that, an extensive rehab process will be in store for the third-year edge blocker.

Arizona will move Jared Veldheer back to left tackle, Kent Somers of AZCentral.com tweets. Veldheer and Humphries switched positions going into this season. Veldheer played left tackle throughout his career coming into this season. John Wetzel, who stepped in for Humphries at left tackle against the Seahawks, will move to the right side going forward.

Arians said Humphries faces a three-month recovery timetable but will be ready for OTAs, and the fifth-year Cardinals coach believes the new left tackle’s chronic MCL troubles can be fixed.

The Cardinals will soon have two of their starting offensive linemen on IR. Mike Iupati remains on the injured list due to an elbow ailment.

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West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.