The hits keep coming for the Arizona Cardinals as the team was forced to place tackle Jared Veldheer on Injured Reserve following Sunday’s win against the Tennessee Titans. Veldheer was already fighting an elbow injury, but it was an ankle injury that wound up ending his season.
Not only is the veteran tackle’s season over, but quite possibly his career.
Prior to this season, there were reports that Veldheer had left the team for a day to contemplate retirement. Of course, when that move would cost $13 million, walking away from such a large sum of money isn’t such an easy decision. So he returned to man the right tackle position, a switch for him after the emergence of D.J. Humphries.
Veldheer started the season quite poorly, causing many to question if he had already mentally retired. As the season wore on he improved, but he still hasn’t been the same player he was just a couple of years ago.
Now the Cardinals have an opportunity to cut ties for good. Cutting him would only cost $3.25 million against the cap in dead money and could allow the team to spend their dollars elsewhere in free agency.
With the combination of injury, CTE scares and the likely possibility of being cut by Arizona, last Sunday very well could have been Veldheer’s last game playing in the NFL. If it’s not, he still has youth on his side and could be a nice bargain signing for someone, but something tells me he won’t play for a small chunk of change if he was almost willing to walk away from $13 million.
Regardless of what he does, the Arizona Cardinals have an interesting offseason upcoming. They will need to replace Veldheer eventually, whether it is through free agency or the draft. They may have a good amount of cap space to do some things depending on a few factors such as Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald returning.
If this was Vledheer’s last game, I believe he still goes down as a quality free agency signing for Steve Keim. He manned the left side admirably for 3 years and helped stabilize what was a very shaky offensive line prior to his arrival.