It’s been quite an auspicious start to Raiders’ Training Camp to say the least.
The Oakland Raiders 2017 Training Camp started with a league wide shocking report: Pro Bowl starting left tackle Donald Penn is holding out amidst a contract dispute. In addition to Penn’s controversial decision, the team’s first round pick, Gareon Conley, got some good news as his legal drama might start to get behind him.
The Penn hold out news blindsided (pun intended) the fan base; there are rumblings that this was a lingering concern expressed by Penn after Derek Carr became the highest paid player in league history. Penn has all the leverage in this situation as he’s been a key cog in the Raiders turn around since Carr’s rookie year, protecting him in the pocket and being a vocal team leader.
Penn has taken team friendly deals up to this point and seemingly won’t do so anymore. Even at the age of 34, he knows the Raiders are vulnerable at left tackle and he’s one of the league’s best when it comes to keeping their quarterback protected for a season loaded with Super Bowl expectations. Penn’s current contract has him ranked 19th of left tackle money per year in the league according to Over The Cap. Amazing value for such a dominant positional player; he deserves to paid among the leagues top 10 left tackles.
Going young at left tackle surely is in the Raiders upcoming plans, but right now, that would just be unfortunate timing. The Raiders have a reputation as the NFL’s best offensive line, and the cohesion as a unit can’t be disrupted leading up to the start of week 1. I hope Reggie McKenzie can front load a new 2-year deal in which the Raiders can rent Penn at a high cost for this season and then, easily part ways with him monetarily after it.
The development of a younger option now in rookie David Sharpe has become a new urgency in camp. Similarly and if Marshall Newhouse is the Raiders starting left tackle week 1, then dump the “kool aid” for the 2017 season.
Time to put the “Penn to the paper” for GM Reggie McKenzie.