A Year After Holdout, Nothing Is Certain for Donald Penn

Report indicates Raiders want veteran left tackle -- who isn't yet recovered from injury to play -- to restructure his contract if he wants to stay with the team

Going into this Raiders training camp, the only question about the offensive line was who would play right tackle.

Now both tackle positions are in flux.

Top draft pick Kolton Miller originally was penciled in to play right tackle, but with veteran left tackle Donald Penn still not cleared to practice after December foot surgery, Miller has been shifted over to Penn’s spot, with David Sharpe and Jylan Ware backing him up.

On the right side, veteran Breno Giacomini is now listed as No. 1 at tackle, with rookie Brandon Parker and Ian Silberman behind him.

Now it appears the Raiders will take a tough stance with Penn, the 35-year-old Pro Bowler. According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders would like Penn to restructure his contract. Gehlken reports the Raiders aren’t happy with the current terms of Penn’s deal (received after a holdout last year in training camp) in which half of his $6 million salary is fully guaranteed. They’d like more of his money to come in the form of bonuses or incentives.

Penn is still on the physically unable to perform list. The forecast was for Penn to eventually be able to practice and be ready for the opening regular-season game of the 2018 season on Sept. 10, a Monday night game vs. the Rams, but now it’s uncertain how Penn will react to the team wanting to restructure his deal.

Ideally, the Raiders’ line would be strongest with Penn on the left side and Miller on the right, but if Penn balks, Miller – who played left tackle at UCLA and has looked promising this summer – could be his heir much sooner than expected.

As Charean Williams of NBC’s Pro Football Talk noted Wednesday, the presence of two drafted offensive tackles in Miller and Parker could have been a signal to Penn that his days are numbered in silver and black, yet Penn at the time of the draft used Twitter to signal he was going to fight for his starting job.

“The Raiders spent two of their top three picks on offensive tackles, selecting Kolton Miller in the first round and Brandon Parker in the third,” she wrote. “The selection of Miller prompted Penn to take to social media on draft night, tweeting, ‘MORE MOTIVATION.’ ”

First, however, Penn will need to be cleared by doctors to get back on the field and fight for his spot.

Now, as Gehlken wrote, Penn “may need to accept a salary reduction, too.”

The Raiders will open their exhibition season Friday night vs. the Detroit Lions at O.co Coliseum.

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