Saffold fails physical with Raiders

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm •  Published: March 12, 2014

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders were dealt a setback on Wednesday in their plans to rebuild the struggling franchise when offensive lineman Rodger Saffold failed a physical one day after agreeing to a $42.5 million, five-year contract.

The two sides had agreed to the deal shortly after the start of free agency on Tuesday but the contract was never signed after team doctors would not give Saffold a clean bill of health after a physical on Wednesday.

The Raiders did not give a reason why Saffold failed the physical.

Saffold was set to be paid $16 million in 2014 and $27.6 million over the first three years as the Raiders viewed him as a building block in a rebuilding plan after 11 straight years without a playoff berth.

But Saffold had durability problems in his four years with St. Louis, missing 17 games with a variety of injuries. He missed time with a knee injury last season and has also had problems with his neck, shoulder and pectoral muscle in his career.

Despite those issues, the Raiders valued Saffold higher than homegrown tackle Jared Veldheer, who was allowed to leave as a free agent for Arizona on Tuesday.

The Raiders did sign one offensive lineman, finalizing a five-year, $30 million deal with former New York Jets tackle Austin Howard on Wednesday.

But with about $60 million in salary cap room heading into free agency and numerous holes to fill following two straight four-win seasons, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie needs to find more help soon.

The Raiders did host a number of free agent defenders on Wednesday in hopes of upgrading that side of the ball. Former Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley tweeted that he was headed for a visit to Oakland and Dallas defensive tackle Jason Hatcher also tweeted his plans to visit.

ESPN reported that former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and cornerback Terrell Thomas are also set to visit the Raiders.

The Raiders need help on their pass rush after losing last year's leading sacker and most consistent defender LaMarr Houston to Chicago in free agency. The other three starting defensive linemen - Pat Sims, Vance Walker and Jason Hunter - are also free agents.