For the past few weeks, it’s looked almost certain that Raiders starting left tackle Donald Penn will be allowed to walk in free agency.
Penn, who’s been solid for the Raiders the past two seasons, said he wanted to remain in Oakland, but complained that negotiations had stalled with the team. Recently, he removed all mention of himself on his social media accounts as a Raider, an indication he was ready to move on.
This past weekend, in fact, Maurice Moton of NFLspinzone.com made a list of free-agent candidates and draft-eligible players to replace Penn should the Raiders decide to move ahead without him. Kelechi Osemele of Baltimore has been reported by Moton, and others, as the possible leading man to move into the spot of Penn departs.
But head coach Jack Del Rio, in comments to the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past week, seemed to contradict that popular line of thinking.
According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Del Rio says he wants Penn to return but noted it might take some time for a deal to be put together.
“I think everybody wants it to happen right now,” Del Rio told Branch. “Happen yesterday. Those things sometimes take a little bit of time. I know both sides are working on it and hopefully will get something done.”
But, Del Rio acknowledged to reporters at the Combine that the Raiders have to do their due diligence in the offseason, evaluating potential free agents, draft prospects and their salary-cap space. Because of that, Penn, 32, may just have to wait awhile to see where he stands in Oakland. In the offseason is when business takes precedence over play, said Del Rio, and all parties have to understand there’s a process.
“There’s a time for play,” said Del Rio, “and there’s a time for pay. This is the time for pay part.”