The Oakland Raiders abruptly backed out of a potential $US42.5 million contract with free agent tackle Rodger Saffold on Wednesday.
The team contends that Saffold failed his physical, and needs immediately surgery on his shoulder.
But according to Saffold’s agents, his shoulder is fine. The St. Louis Rams (Saffold’s old team) gave him an exit physical at the end of the season, which he passed.
Saffold told his agents that the Raiders doctors told him, “You’re fine,” after the physical, only to have the team come back a day later and say he failed it.
“Alan Herman [Saffold’s agent] said he called a specialist he uses for his clients and double-checked the medical records and MRI results on Saffold’s shoulder. The specialist gave Herman the OK on Saffold’s shoulder.
“Herman said [Rams executive] Kevin Demoff got in touch with him on more than one occasion Wednesday to tell him Saffold’s shoulder was fine.
“All of which was to no avail, apparently, as far as the Raiders were concerned.”
Saffold dislocated his shoulder in the 2013 preseason, but didn’t miss any regular season games as a result of the injury.
In short, the failed physical excuse looks a little bit curious.
Some are speculating that the real reason the Raiders backed out is buyer’s remorse. Saffold’s $US42.5 million deal was harshly criticised when it was announced on Monday. Grantland’s Bill Barnwell said the Raiders grossly overpaid, and called it “something not very far from mind-boggling and impossible to understand.”
The $US21.5 million in guaranteed money was more than Eugene Monroe and Branden Albert got — both of whom are considered better players than Saffold.
Michael Silver of the NFL Network reported that it was Raiders owner Mark Davis who ultimately vetoed the contract.
No matter the reason for the failed deal, it’s a rough development for Oakland. The Raiders let their own highly-regarded tackle, Jared Veldheer, go to Arizona in free agency. Now, after the Saffold fiasco, they don’t have a tackle and all the top-line free agents are off the market.
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