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Cardinals Trade Jared Veldheer

Posted Mar 23, 2018

Offensive tackle heading to Broncos for sixth-round pick

Jared Veldheer is off to Denver after playing four seasons with the Cardinals.

That question about what the Cardinals were going to do with veteran tackle Jared Veldheer following the signing of free-agent tackle Andre Smith has been answered.

The Cards dealt Veldheer to the Denver Broncos Friday for a sixth-round draft pick in this year’s draft. Veldheer has to pass a physical with Denver to finalize the deal, but it clears not only a path for Smith to take over at right tackle but also $6.9 million in salary cap space.

Veldheer’s time in Arizona was expected to be coming to a close after Smith was brought in. The Cards are expected to have Smith and guard Justin Pugh on the right side, with incumbent A.Q. Shipley at center, Mike Iupati – who took a pay cut to stay – at left guard and D.J. Humphries at left tackle.

John Wetzel is currently the top candidate to be the backup swing tackle.

According to the NFLPA, the Cardinals had about $13.7 million in cap space prior to both the Veldheer deal and the signing of cornerback Bené Benwikere. The Cardinals now have eight total draft picks.

Veldheer was the Cardinals’ big free-agent signing in 2014, brought in to anchor the left tackle spot. He ultimately started 53 games, although he dealt with injuries the past couple of seasons. After starting all 32 games his first two seasons, he missed eight games in 2016 after tearing his triceps.

The Cardinals drafted Humphries in 2015 with the idea he would eventually take over at left tackle. That move came last year, and Veldheer admittedly was reluctant to move. He did so, struggling on the right side initially, before finding a groove later in the year. Then Veldheer broke his ankle, missing the final three games.

Veldheer also missed a day in training camp last year when he was contemplating retirement, but ultimately returned, wanting to continue his career. He had been continuing to rehab his ankle.

“That stuff early in the year, I just had to sort through some stuff,” Veldheer said the day after the season ended. “When I came back to the guys, it was clear where I wanted to be. My mindset from there hasn’t changed.”

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