For the second consecutive season, Jared Veldheer is poised to bring some playoff stability to the Packers’ offensive line. The 33-year-old tackle has reportedly signed with the Packers following the Indianapolis Colts’ season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in the Wildcard Round of the NFL playoffs.
Veldheer had announced his retirement earlier this season but unretired to sign with the Colts in December, hoping to play for a championship with a contender. Importantly, Veldheer was only a member of the Colts’ practice squad, and Indianapolis elevated him to the roster last weekend. When the game ended, he moved back to the practice squad, giving the Packers the chance to sign him.
Now in his 11th NFL season, Veldheer has a history in Green Bay. He unretired last season and joined the Packers after he was claimed on waivers from the Patriots, playing spot duty on two occasions on the right side of the offensive line. When Bryan Bulaga left the Packers’ Week 17 game against the Lions with an injury, Belhdeer stepped in and played 35 snaps as the Packers rallied to win. Then, when Bulaga battled an illness in the playoffs, Veldheer started and played every snap in the Packers’ Divisional Round win over the Seahawks.
Veldheer should be in game shape and ready to go for the Packers, though the role he plays is yet to be determined. He played every snap for the Colts in Weeks 16 and 17, as well as in their loss to the Bills. Presumably, the Packers are signing him for depth, but it’s possible there’s an offensive line configuration that gets him on the field sooner than later, especially given head coach Matt LaFleur’s stated preference for getting the “best five” offensive linemen into a given game.
In addition, Veldheer is going to make a bit of NFL history. He’ll be the first player in league history to line up for two playoff teams in a single postseason.
In any case, the Packers’ line seems significantly deeper than 24 hours ago, a significant consideration with David Bakhtiari gone for the year and the Los Angeles Rams bringing their formidable defense to Lambeau Field on Saturday.