By Keeping Penn, Raiders Now Have One of NFL's Best Offensive Lines

Re-signing veteran left tackle also allows Osemele to make a bigger impact at guard, his best position

Wednesday was a good-news day for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and running back Latavius Murray.

The two Oakland playmakers learned they’ll have Donald Penn at left tackle again in 2016 on an offensive line that should be deeper and more talented.

Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reported early Wednesday that the Raiders had reached an agreement on a new deal with Penn, who had become an unrestricted free agent after two strong seasons in silver and black.

Retaining Penn should produce some big, positive ripples for the offense.

By keeping Penn at left tackle, the Raiders will go into the season with an established, strong pass-blocker to protect Carr, while also adding one of the NFL’s top run-blocking guards, former Raven Kelechi Osemele, at right guard.

Kevin Patra of Wednesday morning called the re-signing of Penn “another coup for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie.”

“Keeping Penn on Derek Carr’s blind side will ensure continuity on the Oakland offensive line,” Patra wrote. “The signing also allows the Raiders to keep high-priced Kelechi Osemele at guard, giving the Raiders one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Somewhere Carr is smiling ear-to-ear.”

The analytics website Pro Football Focus Wednesday also noted that the re-signing of Penn allows Osemele to play at guard, his better position, and signals better protection for Carr and more consistent holes for Murray to run the ball. Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus sees big things ahead for Oakland’s playmakers because of McKenzie’s investment in the offensive line.

“When Derek Carr was not under pressure last season, he had an NFL passer rating of 96.4; that should only get better with another year of chemistry with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Clive Walford,” he wrote. “The offensive line should be able to keep pressure off of Carr most of the time. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders add a running back in the draft or free agency to help complete this very young but very talented offense.”

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