Bay Area, CA | Oakland Raiders LT Donald Penn sat out for the second consecutive day of training camp in Napa, CA. Penn is holding out for more money, as he is reportedly unhappy with his current contract that he feels he's outperformed. If you look at his rankings against other left tackles; his rankings against all offensive lineman; the ranking of the offensive line itself; and his importance to that line – it's hard to disagree with the man.
In 2016, Fox News Sports ranked Penn as 8th best of all offensive tackles in the league. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had him going into the season as high as 7th. I'd note that this is a ranking of all offensive tackles, not just his position (LT). Penn's strong play at LT did not go unnoticed by the NFL as the season progressed.
By season's end Penn was ranked by PFF at 88.1, good for 7th best offensive lineman in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Again, we're not talking just left tackles, or even all tackles (left or right). We're talking about all offensive linemen in the NFL. Penn only gave up one sack in 2016. It also happened to be the one that resulted in Derek Carr's broken leg, but it is an impressive stat nonetheless.
Penn's unit is elite. Penn's wingman, LG Kelechi Osemele, was rated by PFF even higher at 89.1, good for 3rd overall. Osemele's salary is $13.5M, per Over The Cap. Left tackles are usually paid more than guards, though Osemele can play both. While Penn gave up one sack, Osemele, RG Gabe Jackson and C Rodney Hudson both gave up none. That's four offensive lineman that only gave up one sack between the group. There's a reason they call this offensive line Carr Insurance.
And on a line that was ranked as high as 2nd in the NFL, the Raiders' offensive line goes into 2017 ranked 3rd in the league per both USA Today and NFL.com. And Penn is the 2nd best player on that line. His dominance at the most critical side of the offensive line also matters compared to his competition. If you look at the Over the Cap list of salaries for left tackles in the NFL, Penn is paid 15th highest at $7.15M.
The man Penn replaced, Jared Veldheer, is paid $10M, good for 7th highest paid. I think we can agree that based on the criteria that Penn has outperformed Veldheer. It seems fair that Penn be paid at least as much as the man he replaced, bringing him up to at least 7th overall in terms of pay. That would roughly be a $3M bump in Penn's salary, and place him in line with his league ranking.
As of this evening Sportrac places the Raiders at just over $12.5M in cap space after the signing of first round draft pick CB Gareon Conley. Penn has plain outplayed his current contract. And with so much cap space and not many roster moves left to make I don't see why Reggie McKenzie doesn't just pay the man $10M over the next two seasons. He's worth it. He's earned it. As the kids say, PAY THE MAN.
Just Win Baby. Raiders fans know Super Bowl windows don't come around very often.