Former Colts general manager and ESPN analyst Bill Polian said Wednesday he expected either tackle Jared Veldheer or right end Lamarr Houston to receive a franchise tag, given the Raiders stated preference for bring back their own players and their room under the salary cap.
The Raiders are presumably negotiating with both players in hopes of having them signed before Saturday, when they can begin fielding offers from other teams. No contracts can be signed before March 11, with the open period giving Veldheer and Houston a chance to assess their value on the market and bring their top offer back to general manager Reggie McKenzie.
“It might have been that the demands of the agents were out of line,” Polian said on an ESPN national conference call. It could be that maybe the cash demands were something they didn’t feel they could deal with or meet. Only Reggie can answer that question.”
Veldheer appeared to be the most likely of the two players to be franchised. Despite Houston’s status as the most steady defensive lineman on the Raiders, it would have been a surprise had they locked themselves in a situation where they paid him $13.1 million for a season on the franchise designation.
“I was a bit surprised something didn’t get done,” Polian said. “But we’re not there yet, too. They could get something done before we hit free agency, and if that’s the case, the question will be answered.”
— The Raiders tendered six exclusive rights free agents _ safety Brandian Ross, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, running back Jeremy Stewart, linebacker Kaelin Burnett, offensive lineman Matt McCants and fullback Jamize Olawale. The club will not announce those transactions until they have actually signed contracts.
Exclusive rights free agents have no bargaining power and are tied to their team unless they aren’t offered a contract.