The Oakland Raiders have under a week to sign arguably the best free agent left tackle in the league before he officially hits the market. Jared Veldheer and the Raiders have been in contract talks for what seems like forever but without any result. Even worse, there has been very little talk about what has been going on, producing the fear that little progress is being made.
Yesterday, a bit of news gave Raiders fans some insight into at least one aspect of the negotiations that had previously been unknown by most. According to Adam Caplan who appeared on 95.7 The Game with John Lund and Greg Papa, Veldheer parted ways with his agent in order to hire his brother, Aaron Veldheer.
Veldheer’s decision to move on from a veteran agency to his brother is not unheard of, but is still rare. Other NFL players have used family members as agents in the past. Sometimes in order to give that member an opportunity to make some money, sometimes because they believed the family member was the person who would look out for their best interest the most.
But one obviously has to wonder what the hiring of his brother means for his chances of staying with the Raiders. In my opinion, this move is symbolic of the fact that money is not the number one factor in Veldheer’s decision making process. If he was just going for the big pay day, he would have hired a big name agent like Tom Condon or Drew Rosenhaus.
In fact, hiring ANY professional agent would, at least on its face, appear to be worse for the Raiders. Agents are always looking for big contract numbers, not just because they often work on percentages, but also because it is a selling point to obtain other clients. Getting a low ball contract done is not the way to advertise to other players that you can get them the big dollars.
The Raiders and their fans have to hope that the move in agents is one that makes it more likely the young book end will continue wearing Silver and Black for a long time. But it could also be a reason that the Raiders and Veldheer have not yet come to an agreement. Caplan said that he was unaware of Aaron Veldheer ever having represented an athlete before. If this is true, things could have slowed down as he gets accustomed to the new job.
This is understandable considering the fact that a lot of money is on the line and NFL contracts are not simple documents. Reading and understanding the structure of one for anyone not familiar with them could take days itself. According to Ian Rapoport, this move was made months ago, but even Greg Papa was unaware of the move. Aaron Veldheer could completely acclimated by now, but it could have slowed things when he first came on.
Without being in the room, it is hard to tell what, if any, impact the change in agent will make. But logic seems to say that it is good for the Raiders that Veldheer did not go out and hire a big name agent, choosing to stay close to home instead.