L.G. Patterson/Associated Press
The Oakland Raiders could qualify as a number of surprises—mostly in what they didn't get in free agency this week. The Rodger Saffold situation takes the cake because it was beyond bizarre.
First, the Raiders allow a more well-regarded left tackle in Jared Veldheer to walk when they could have slapped him with the franchise tag. Veldheer wound up getting a five-year, $35 million deal, according to Spotrac.com.
Then, the Raiders seemingly counter the Veldheer loss by giving Saffold even more money, agreeing to a reported five-year, $42.5 million contract with $21 million guaranteed, as reported by NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Hilarity ensued: How do you pay an older player, who had to move from left tackle to right tackle to guard, more money than the left tackle you already had on your roster, as Steve Cockran of the Contra Costa Times tweeted?
Next, the Raiders found a way out of wasting their league-high cap space that way, nixing the deal over a reported torn labrum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Vic Tafur.
Finally, the Rams—having wanted Saffold all along and believing the shoulder is just fine—signed him to a five-year, $31.7-million deal with $19.5 million guaranteed, per Schefter.
What an odd turn of events.
Saffold lost $1.5 million up front and got embarrassed by the Raiders, who continue to be a league-wide laughingstock. We probably shouldn't be so surprised with it all because of the organization we're dealing with here.
"Rodger is happy to be back here considering what went down there—what a crazy experience," Saffold's agent Alan Herman told Jim Corbett or Nate Davis of USA Today on Thursday. "It was painful. Let's put it that way."