Currently 21st among left tackles in yearly contract value, the Raiders’ Donald Penn is holding out in hopes of landing a raise. Now, thanks to retired linebacker and current NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest, there’s some clarity on Penn’s demands.
Penn spoke to McGinest about his asking price, and McGinest relayed (via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter) that the lineman “wants to be paid in the top 10. He’s not looking to be the top paid.”
To break into the top 10 among left tackles in annual pay, Penn would need upward of the $11.25MM per season that the Rams’ Andrew Whitworth is earning on the three-year pact he signed in free agency. Penn, 34, is a year younger than Whitworth, and there’s a strong case to be made that the former deserves similar money. Like Whitworth, who has appeared in 168 of a possible 176 regular-season games and been extremely effective in the process, Penn has been an eminently durable stalwart.
An injury kept Penn out of the Raiders’ wild-card round loss to the Texans last January, but he otherwise hasn’t missed a game since entering the league with the Buccaneers in 2007. That was also the only year Penn hasn’t started in all 16 contests, as he served as a reserve in four of them. Dating back to his second year, Penn has started 156 consecutive games. He has also consistently earned quality grades from Pro Football Focus, which ranked his performance 12th among 76 qualified tackles in 2016.
“(Penn) just wants the respect for what he’s done on the field,” explained McGinest. “Stop looking at his age, look at his production”
Age isn’t on Penn’s side, as McGinest implied, but it’s hard to find a problem with his on-field output. With the Raiders and their high-octane offense aiming for a Super Bowl this year, general manager Reggie McKenzie may look to find common ground with Penn and appease one of the team’s premier linemen. Penn, guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson are among the best players in the league at their positions, and the Raiders surely want that alignment in place for all 16 games this season.
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