Looking to complete the mission what they fell short of finishing a season ago, woe has begotten the Oakland Raiders 2017 season on its first official day.
As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, two-time Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn will hold out of Training Camp. The 34-year-old has demanded a pay rate equivalent to that “among the top-10 left tackles in football.”
Penn has started each of the Raiders’ 48 regular season contests since his Oakland arrival in 2014. Allowing just one sack last season, Penn contributed to a unit that led the league with 18 total — the Raiders offensive line was the only in the NFL to allow fewer than 100 yards lost via quarterback sacks.
In his absence, the Houston Texans recorded three sacks in eliminating the Raiders from the playoffs in the first round — though, it was with backup Connor Cook in the backfield replacing the elusive Derek Carr.
Penn’s current $6.25 million average annual salary (with two years remaining on the contract) makes him the 20th-highest paid left tackle in the league. Los Angeles Rams lineman Andrew Whitworth is the present marker for Penn’s intended top-10 pay, making an average $11.25 million annually.
Oakland is currently $3.55 million over the salary cap, according to sportrac.
Should the Raiders and general manager Reggie McKenzie decide to move on from the , they will have some options given their offseason addition of Marshall Newhouse.
The first option would be moving Newhouse to left tackle, slotting Austin Howard into the right side, where he made 11 starts in the black and silver a year ago. Problem is: Howard is currently recovering from an offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff — his status for the season opener is uncertain.
Option two would make a starter out of 2017 fourth-round selection David Sharpe — likely at right tackle, moving Newhouse to left.
Neither option is excellent, given they would be in the stead of having one of the game’s top pass blockers protecting the back side of Oakland’s franchise quarterback, putting a damper on the incredibly high hopes generated in 2016.