The good news: The Cardinals' offensive line improved from 2012 to 2013. The bad news: The 2012 cast of characters was among the worst collective of wannabe pass-blockers you'll ever see. The Cardinals hired a new coach and general manager last offseason, and they used the team's first-round pick on left guard guard Jonathan Cooper. Unfortunately, Cooper suffered a broken leg in August and was lost for the season.
But he'll return in 2014 and be joined by left tackle Jared Veldheer, the former Raider who agreed to terms with the Cardinals in the first few minutes of free agency Tuesday, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
Like Cooper, Veldheer missed the 2013 season with an injury. He tore his triceps tendon during the preseason and spent the ensuing months recovering. And now, the former third-round pick out of Hillside College (Mich.) will line up next to Cooper in what has suddenly become an above-average o-line.
As for why the Raiders, who have some $65 million in cap space, didn't want Veldheer, here's one theory:
Mary Veldheer went on to say that Reggie McKenzie is “cleaning house” … also heard from that camp that McKenzie doesn't want “Al Davis guys”— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 11, 2014
In related news, the Raiders signed former Rams offensive lineman Roger Saffold to a five-year, $42 million deal. The more things change, indeed.