When it comes to the football calendar, the stretch between June and August is easily my least favorite time of the year. The constant obsession over daily minutiae and second-hand observations that trickle out through all media sources, in conjunction with the thorough lack of meaningful football things happening is enough to make me want to clear my cache of all things tangentially football-related.
I don’t, of course, because I am a fiend. But I really want to.
Case in point: the biggest story out of Oakland Raiders camp this year is Donald Penn’s absence from it. As has been discussed ad nauseum for a little over a week now, Penn would like to be paid more money than he’s currently being paid to continue serving as the Raiders’ starting left tackle.
The latest update on that front is the report that the Raiders are asking Penn to report to camp before negotiating his new deal. Conversely, Penn has emphasized that he won’t report until his new deal is done.
There’s already been a few articles written here at Black Hole Banter about the situation and the potential impact/implications of it, so I’ll gladly skip over the rehashing of those details.
Instead, I’m simply here to tell you how it will end.
No, I’m not an insider with the level of access and prestige of, say, award-winning journalist and world-renowned podcaster Will Reeve Jr., editor of both the Raiders Wire and Chargers Wire news sites, and one of the most respected and recognized writers of our generation.
I do, however, possess a basic level of insight and the minimum amount of common sense required to be approved for a bank loan. And it’s very clear at this juncture that the Raiders need Donald Penn far more than he needs them. So, they gotta pay him.
And they will pay him. Soon.
When the two-year, nine million-dollar contract Donald Penn signed with the Raiders in 2014 expired at the end of last season, all cards were laid out on the table. Penn wanted a pay raise, and while he openly expressed his desire to stay with the Raiders, he made it clear that it was more important to be compensated at a level of his liking, and that if pressed, he would go elsewhere to get said compensation.
That was fine by the Raiders’ front office. Despite (or perhaps due to being comforted by the fact that they were his first choice) Penn’s public comments, they were content to let him to test the market. They responded by signing Kelechi Osemele as soon as free agency opened — a guard but would not only be more than willing to play LT, but had the capability to do so (and do so at a high level) if asked. In fact, the terms of his deal led many to speculate that the Raiders had signed Osemele with the full intentions of replacing Penn instead of lining them up next to each other.
Penn played decently in his two years with the Raiders up to that point, but was clearly on the backside of his career. That raised the question of what type of investment the Raiders should make in retaining, were one to be made at all.
Personally, I opined that while it would be nice to have Penn back for the sake of continuity, based on his play up to that point, as well as his age (33 at the time, with ten seasons under his belt) the Raiders shouldn’t offer him anything more than the median of what the LT market was at that point. The highest-paid LT in 2015 was Anthony Costanzo (surprised me too), who made a total of $18M that season (14 guaranteed, 4 in signing bonuses). Working strictly based off of the guaranteed money — the only money that matters in any walk of life — I assumed that number to be about $7M. At most, I thought the Raiders could give him $8 as a show of good faith for what would likely be his last contract.
Donald Penn worth $8M a year for two-three years?
— Bhri$tian Wolff (@RyanPrime_) December 11, 2020