Donald Penn is signed through the 2019 season, so it seems likely the veteran offensive tackle will be wearing silver and black for a sixth straight season.
But Penn, who will soon turn 36, isn’t guaranteed a job.
After struggling with injuries and playing just four games in 2018, Penn could be vulnerable. The Raiders could release him this offseason and save themselves about $5.5 million in salary cap space.
Yet Penn also could be a key to the Raiders’ offensive improvement if he stays. Last season, Oakland put rookie Kolton Miller at left tackle and moved Penn to the right side. Then, when Penn was injured, rookie Brandon Parker took his spot. The rookie tackles had their share of problems protecting quarterback Derek Carr. So, if Penn comes back healthy — and Miller’s knee problems are over and he’s learned from his rough season — the Raiders would seem to be automatically better.
As Penn noted recently, he’s been working hard this offseason to be in good shape and to come back strong in the final year of his deal. After spending most of 2018 helping tutor Miller and Parker, he’s eager to regain his starting spot.
During the recent Super Bowl week, Penn said he believes the Raiders can win in 2019 and he wants to be a part of it.
Said Penn, in December: “I’m not going to play much longer. I want to win. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
In his first four seasons with the Raiders, Penn had been a rock, starting 62 of a possible 64 games.