The Arizona Cardinals, when they saw that the Oakland Raiders decided not to use their franchise tag on left tackle Jared Veldheer, knew that "it was a no-brainer" to target him in free agency. According to general manager Steve Keim, who addressed the media along with head coach Bruce Arians, the first phone call they made once the pre-free agency negotiating window opened was to Veldheer's brother and agent.
They flew him out to Arizona on Tuesday and took him to dinner, where, according to Keim, he "was the first free agent to eat more than me."
So what did the Cardinals leadership see in Veldheer, the 6-8, 320-pound tackle?
He was "a perfect fit" for what they want to do on the offensive line.
"He has incredible work ethic and tangibles, and the right kind of guy that Bruce and I felt fit what we're trying to accomplish here," Keim said.
Arians described him as "young" and "aggressive." They liked that he "likes to practice hard" and that he would be a good fit in the locker room. In fact, they liked that he has been known to mix it up with teammate on the practice field (which is interesting because Arians has a no-fight policy in practice and camp).
Quarterback Carson Palmer also weighed in on Veldheer, a former teammate in Oakland. Palmer led with the fact that Veldheer "is an awesome teammate, is awesome in the locker room." That echos what Arians and Keim said. He sounds like he would fit right in with a group that appeared to be pretty close as a unit off the field.
"He loves to compete, he loves to work," Palmer said, noting Veldheer loves the game of football. This sort of reminds me of what Larry Fitzgerald said about Palmer -- "he's all about ball." Palmer is a football junkie. Palmer called Veldheer "a football goof" because of how he loves everything about the game of football -- talking, working and preparing.
On the field, Palmer said that Veldheer plays big, is "difficult to bull rush" and is quick on his feet. "He moves like a shorter tackle," he added, also praising him for his ability in the run game, saying "he's a mauler."
He has yet to even step on the practice field, but it is going to be hard to not be excited about him anchoring that left side after all the years of seeing players struggle at the position.
Could he be the answer the team has been looking for seemingly forever? It looks like it right now.
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