Raiders OT Donald Penn: 'Just wait and watch this comeback'
It’s been a difficult offseason for Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn. Fortunately for coach Jon Gruden, Oakland’s starter at left tackle the last three years hasn’t lost his competitive fire.
Penn’s 2017 season ended early due to a lisfranc foot injury that required surgery, and he watched Oakland draft two offensive tackles in the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL draft. That’s not to mention Penn was briefly under investigation for a domestic abuse incident in late April.
Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie chose offensive tackle Kolton Miller with the No. 15 overall pick, and he looks to be Penn’s successor. But Raiders brass would love to get another year of Pro Bowl-caliber play out of their 35-year-old veteran.
Miller is getting run at left tackle for now, but where the rookie ends up in 2018 actually depends on Penn. The Raiders weak spot on the offensive line is at right tackle, and if Penn is good to go on the left, Miller will be slated to start opposite him.
If Penn can’t come back from his foot injury, Miller will have his chance to be the Raiders left tackle of the present and future. In that scenario, rookie offensive tackle Brandon Parker would compete for playing time on the right.
Penn’s motivated by the situation according to his tweet, and the Raiders will get whatever magic the veteran Pro Bowler has left in 2018. And it’s a good thing. Another year of Penn will give Miller and Parker more time to develop. Plus, Oakland will incur a $3 million salary cap hit if they release the twelfth-year player, per spotrac.
But to hear Penn tell it, there’s nothing for Gruden and McKenzie to worry about. All they have to do is sit back and watch Penn’s comeback unfold.