Ideally, Donald Penn would like to return to the Oakland Raiders after doing quite well for them in the last two seasons. But with supply, demand and salary offers being factored, he might end up playing for the New York Giants, or somewhere else.
Things are becoming clearer in the tackle market among the free agents. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Ryan Harris and the Seattle Seahawks added J’Marcus Webb. The Raiders made the big first move by signing Kelechi Osemele, while Russell Okung and Kelvin Beachum are the other big names out there. Penn is a bit older and struggles in run blocking, but he’s been one of the more reliable left tackles in the NFL for almost a decade.
With the Raiders signing Osemele, Penn knows he doesn’t have much leverage with Oakland despite playing in all 32 games for them since joining in 2014. In fact, he hasn’t missed a single game over the last nine seasons, playing seven of them for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He began his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 after going undrafted coming out of Utah State. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010.
But back to the present. The Raiders, who still have $25 million to spend despite their big moves in free agency, would like Penn back, but not for the kind of money Osemele makes, of course, and probably for less than what Penn made for them since 2014, signing a two-year $9.6 million deal at the time. If he does go back, he might be shifted or used to give guys up front some rest.
The Giants (Penn will visit this week) might have a bigger role intended for Penn and have almost $19 million still under the cap. They’re not completely desperate, with Ereck Flowers and Justin Pugh on the team, but they would like to move Flowers to right tackle and Pugh back to right guard where he’s much better. Penn? At almost 33, he’s short term solution, but anyone signed at this point isn’t going to get too long of a deal, and while there are other options the Giants are considering, Penn is an upgrade to what they had last season, and enables them to make internal moves to further upgrade the team.