NFL rumors surrounded Donald Penn this week. Many kept an eye on him to see what he was going to do in free agency. Interest in Penn spiked a bit when he came close to signing a contract with the New York Giants to become their new starting right tackle. According to Yahoo! Sports, Penn came close to leaving the Raiders because he was upset. The veteran was under the impression that Oakland had brought in Kelechi Osemele to replace him.
When the Oakland Raiders signed Kelechi Osemele away from the Baltimore Ravens, it was considered a big deal. A franchise that many NFL stars avoided was able to snag the best available offensive lineman during the early days of free agency. A lot of teams in the National Football League wanted a piece of the burly guard. Everyone in the Raiders organization was celebrating the acquisition – everyone except for Donald Penn, the starting left tackle in Oakland.
The problem for Donald Penn was that the Oakland Raiders paid Kelechi Osemele $58.5 million. Osemele is versatile enough play guard and tackle. That kind of money is usually what NFL teams spend on top-level tackles. Guards are usually paid a bit less. Penn instantly believed that the Raiders had signed someone to replace him at left tackle. Now that Oakland has handed him a new $14 million contract, Donald knows that Kelechi will actually be playing beside him at left guard.
Emotions cloud the logic. Donald Penn never wanted to leave the Oakland Raiders. Meeting with the New York Giants was just something that he felt he had to do for the sake of business. Penn still wanted to play in the NFL, so he had to check out all the options. Deep down, though, he wanted to remain in the Bay Area. Had Penn not listened to the advice of other guys in the National Football League, he might have jumped the gun and signed with the Giants.
Donald Penn isn’t a premiere left tackle in the NFL. However, he is a pretty reliable one. Penn is a veteran that has seen just about every blitz package in the National Football League. He’ll form a good guard-and-tackle combination with Kelechi Osemele on the left side. Protecting quarterback Derek Carr is of the utmost importance for the Oakland Raiders. Management just spent $72.5 million to ensure that they have a capable player underneath center.
Kelechi Osemele will one day be the starting left tackle for the Oakland Raiders. Two years from now, Donald Penn will become a free agent again. He’ll be 34 years old by that point. Penn might no longer have a place in the NFL if his athleticism and skills decline because of age. Once that happens, the Raiders will simply slide Osemele out to left tackle. It’s cheaper to find a new left guard, and Kelechi is already make a huge amount of money.
Donald Penn has stated plenty of times in the past that he wants to retire as an Oakland Raider. Having grown up in Los Angeles, he has a fondness for the franchise. Like most NFL players, Penn knows that he doesn’t have a ton of time left to play. Being able to help the Raiders finally get back to the playoffs and potentially challenging for a spot in the Super Bowl, that would be a tremendous way to end his career in the National Football League.
When all is said and done, Donald Penn will realize that he almost made the biggest mistake of his NFL career. He almost unnecessarily walked away from the Oakland Raiders.
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