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Jared Veldheer inks five-year, $35 million deal with Arizona Cardinals

Jared Veldheer signs five-year deal with Arizona CardinalsJared Veldheer (right) will now be responsible for protecting Carson Palmer's blindside. (John Biever/SI)

Over the course of the weekend, free agent offensive tackle Jared Veldheer was generating plenty of interest and he was expected to be one of the players signed during the first wave of agreements.

When 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday came, the speculation proved to be true as Veldheer immediately agreed to a five-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The deal is worth $35 million, according multiple media reports.

Veldheer had informed the Oakland Raiders that he would not be returning to the team in 2014, and he immediately became linked to the Cardinals. It appeared to be a perfect schematic fit and one that would be mutually beneficial, so the news came as no surprise.

Arizona entered the offseason in desperate search of help along the offensive line and it went out and landed one of its top targets.

For the Oakland Raiders, former St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold will be joining the team to become Veldheer's replacement. Saffold, who is slightly more versatile than Veldheer, cost the Raiders a $42.5 million contract that will span over the course of the next five years.

Both teams filled one of their top needs and were not afraid to pay a hefty price.

Grade: A. I might be willing to argue that this is my favorite signing of free agency's first day. Veldheer is coming off a 2013 season hindered significantly by injury, but at 26-years-old should have plenty of good days ahead of him. He's a monstrous presence up front when he is healthy.

To get Veldheer for less overall money than Saffold and for substantially less money than Branden Albert (five years, $46 million) pushes this signing over the top. -- Chris Burke

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