Donald Penn‘s run with the Raiders will end after five seasons. Days after signing Trent Brown, the Raiders are planning to release Penn, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. The Raiders and Penn confirmed the move.
Penn’s Twitter post about his Raiders exit indicates he does not plan to retire. It also appears to state, through some additional capitalized letters, a desire to return to left tackle in 2019.
Involved in contract issues with the Raiders in each of the past two summers, Penn nevertheless retained his spot on their starting offensive line. Jon Gruden moved him from left to right tackle last season. The Raiders drafted tackles with their first two 2018 picks and authorized a tackle-record deal for Brown earlier this week. This pretty well indicated Penn’s time in Oakland was ending.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old blocker had $7.2MM coming his way this season. The Raiders will save $5.5MM by making this move. Penn’s redone contract guaranteed him $1.75MM in 2019, but he will have to continue his career elsewhere. For the Raiders, this bumps them back above $35MM in cap space.
Penn’s Raiders tenure included two Pro Bowls, in 2016 and ’17, but ended with an early-season injury in 2018. He started just four games last season, the injury leading second-round pick Brandon Parker into the starting lineup. Parker may now be set for a swing role, with Brown and Kolton Miller seemingly entrenched as the Silver and Black’s starters.
A longtime Buccaneers blocker, Penn arrived in Oakland in 2014 and was soon part of a top-tier offensive line. The Raiders in 2016-17 deployed three Pro Bowlers — Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson — and in ’16 featured higher-end right-side blockers in Gabe Jackson and Austin Howard.
Penn, who also caught two touchdown passes as a Raider, started 66 games during his five-season run in Oakland. After this move and Osemele being traded to the Jets, only Hudson and Jackson remain from the Raiders’ 2016 playoff line.
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