The Patriots thought they had their offensive tackle position shored up on May 8 when they signed nine-year veteran Jared Veldheer to a one-year deal.
But Veldheer did an about face on Tuesday and decided to retire from the NFL, a league source confirmed to the Globe. Veldheer, who played nine seasons with the Raiders, Cardinals and Broncos, made the decision on Tuesday because the Patriots were due to pay out his $750,000 signing bonus on Wednesday.
Veldheer is walking away from a one-year deal with the Patriots that guaranteed him $1.25 million at signing, would have paid him $3.5 million if he were a backup all season, and as much as $6.5 million had Veldheer became a full-time starter.
The Patriots should be able to recoup Veldheer’s entire $3.1875 million in cap space, but his retirement leaves them thin at offensive tackle, where Marcus Cannon is the only player with experience.
Last year’s first-round pick, Isaiah Wynn, is the front-runner for left tackle, but he missed all of last year with a torn Achilles’. The Patriots also have third-year practice squad tackle Cole Croston, third-round pick Yodny Cajuste, and a trio of street free agents.
If the Patriots still want a veteran tackle, a few options include Donald Penn, Jermey Parnell, Joe Barksdale and Jermon Bushrod.