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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians never expected left tackle Jared Veldheer to hit the open market. He thought the Raiders would sign him to a long-term deal or adhere the franchise tag.
“I was shocked that he wasn’t (tagged),” Arians said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings.
The Raiders didn’t think they had to. They believed an accord was inevitable at the tag deadline -- three weeks before free-agency began -- and saw no reason to apply one.
When negotiations grew cold and Veldheer proved surprisingly amicable to leaving the Bay Area, the Cardinals swooped and grabbed with a five-year contract agreed to on March 11, the first day of free agency.
“He’s 6-8, 330 pounds and tough as nails,” Arians said. “He’s only 26. It’s everything you want in a left tackle. It’s still hard to believe he was there. We were extremely excited. He brings a tough-guy attitude we want. He’s athletic and moves extremely well for a guy that big. We are ecstatic to have him.”