Report day started with the news that the offensive line could be without two mainstays the past three seasons. First it was Austin Howard who was released and then it was Donald Penn who is holding out for a better contract.
Howard’s release was expected, the Penn holdout was a surprise. Or at least it was to most of us. It’s possible some of his linemates may have had some inclination this was coming.
“We’ve talked throughout the offseason,” said center Rodney Hudson Friday. “I haven’t quite spoken to him today, but those things are gonna work itself out at some point.”
Who knows at this point when ‘at some point’ will be. The first training camp practice is tomorrow and every practice he misses, he will be fined $40K.
Penn is holding out because he wants to be paid like a premiere left tackle. And his Pro Bowl status last season suggests he deserves it. He is entering the second season of a two-year deal which pays him a base salary of $5.8 million.
His per year average of $6.2 million makes him the 20th highest paid left tackle. Even at 34, he grades out as a top ten left tackle. In order to be paid as a top ten left tackle, he would have to be paid close around $11.5 million — virtually doubling his currently contact figures. That seems unlikely.
That’s not to say he’s asking for that kind of money, but with his interior linemates making between $3 and $5 million more than he is this season, a pay bump could be in order.
Penn has leverage in this. The Raiders have high hopes this season. With a healthy Derek Carr -- who was ironically injured on the one sack Penn gave up last season — and the addition of Marshawn Lynch, they figure to make a push for the Super Bowl. Penn is a big part of that.
“Offensive line is unique; you gotta have five guys working together, focusing on one thing,” Hudson continued.
“He’s been a big part of us. I’ve been here two years and he’s played well. And like I said, with whatever’s going on, it’s gonna work itself out, we’ll see how it goes.”
Should no deal be reached before tomorrow’s first practice, the Raiders will have to make do. Working behind Penn in the offseason was second year undrafted Denver Kirkland and rookie fourth round pick David Sharpe.