When the Arizona Cardinals signed Jared Veldheer to a big five-year, $35 million contract last March, the hope was the veteran would fill the team’s left tackle spot for years.
The early returns have been positive for Veldheer and the Cardinals who, at 9-3, own the top seed in the NFC playoff standings.
Mike Sando wrote an ESPN.com Insider piece and rated his top veteran acquisitions of the 2014 season, and Veldheer comes in at No. 10 on the list.
The Cardinals badly needed a left tackle and were willing to pay a premium for Veldheer. They have not regretted the investment. Velheer emerged from Week 13 as the sixth-rated tackle in PFF grading. Predecessor Bradley Sowell ranked 76th out of 76 qualifying tackles in PFF grading last season. That’s a huge upgrade for the Cardinals at a position that had been a weakness for years. Teammate Antonio Cromartie was another consideration for this list.
Pro Football Focus also shows that Veldheer is just one of a handful of left tackles in the league that have surrendered one quarterback sack or less in 2014.
The website has Veldheer rated as the Cardinals’ top offensive player with a season grade of 12.1.
New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis topped Sando’s list, followed by Detroit receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay outside linebacker Julius Peppers.