Oakland Raiders: Donald Penn could extend his stay for another season

Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Donald Penn (72) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Donald Penn (72) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland Raiders loaded the roster with talent at offensive tackle, but another Pro Bowl season could extend Donald Penn’s tenure with the team.

When you don’t win the Super Bowl, the focus immediately shifts to why? Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula in Week 16, and fans recall offensive tackle Donald Penn and the team’s season slipping away on the same play.

Unfortunately, that’s what many remember about Penn’s season. He’s the offensive lineman, who missed a block, which allowed a costly hit on the franchise quarterback. We don’t hear about the 34-year old tackle’s second trip to the Pro Bowl. Who cares about the NFL All-Star game, right?

We also forget Penn only allowed one sack throughout the entire season and outperformed a majority of players at his position, per Pro Football Focus:

No, we focus on that one play because the season’s outlook changed for the worst once the training staff helped Carr off the field. Despite the optics on one particular play, Penn should be considered for an extension if he duplicates his 2016 performance minus the season-defining sack allowed on the quarterback.

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Penn ranked No. 3 as a run blocker and No. 10 overall among all offensive tackles in the previous season. He’s facing the likes of Justin Houston, Joey Bosa and Von Miller within the division and holding his own in his mid-30s.

The 11th-year pro signed a two-year deal during the previous offseason after a short wait period. In preparation for the future, general manager Reggie McKenzie added Marshall Newhouse on a two-year deal and rookies David Sharpe and Jylan Ware during the 2017 draft.

Donald Penn: A Durable, Unselfish Pro Bowler

We all know Penn doesn’t have much time left in the league, but he’s still playing at an optimal level. After an OTA session, he talked about his goal to drop five pounds before the season starts and his need for rest in order to play through a long season.

Before sitting out for the Raiders’ road playoff game against the Houston Texans in January, he didn’t miss a game in his career:


Penn performs at a high level, and he’s available. What more could the team ask for at a valuable position? Oh wait, he’s an unselfish team player.

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Despite knowing his job could be passed on to an incoming rookie, Penn still dedicates time to help the incoming players and their transition into the league. He tipped his hat to the younger guys, who’ve approached him to ask for guidance since joining the team, via The Mercury News:

"These guys come in and ask a lot of questions. They’re picking my brain. When I was a rookie, I was scared to talk to the vets too much. I use to talk when they talk to me. These guys are coming in, they’re asking a lot questions, asking to help them and do little things with them, and I like that. I like that they’re taking the initiative and not having me come up and ask them. I love their energy and excitement so far."

Penn and Carr have been a pair since the 2014 season when the team signed the offensive lineman as a free agent and the signal-caller earned his starting spot. Barring unreasonable contract demands, there’s no reason to allow the 34-year-old to walk in the offseason.

Unless Penn shows a sharp decline, one of the younger players has to earn his spot. It’s a huge responsibility blocking some of the NFL’s elite pass-rushers on Carr’s blindside.

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As Penn enters a contract year, many feel it’s likely his last with the Silver and Black. However, if he’s able to keep Carr’s jersey clean and fibula intact, he could extend his career with the Raiders for at least another season.

Player contract details provided by Spotrac, unless otherwise noted.