Why Donald Penn needs to report to training camp before getting a new deal

If you pay attention to the NFL and how it does business, about nine times out of ten it is usually pretty shady. Given that, before we discuss the Oakland Raiders, Donald Penn and his contract, I would like to state that about 99% of the time, I am usually on the players side when it comes to contract disputes.

Players in today’s NFL are getting an extremely raw deal in terms of how much they are currently compensated. From the grand scheme of things, NFL players are grossly underpaid, when you factor in them putting their bodies and relative livelihood on the line on Fall/Winter Sunday’s.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss why Penn should report to training camp. If you recall last offseason, when Penn was an unrestricted free agent, he desperately wanted to finish his career out in Silver and Black. He was granted that wish, by being signed to a 2-year, $11.9 million deal.

After a Pro Bowl campaign in 2016, it was clear that the Raiders were getting a good bargain with Penn. Obviously, Penn felt that he was underpaid, which is why we are here today.

Before signing his deal in 2016, I have to ask, why did Penn elect for a 2-year deal? If Penn would have instead signed a 1-year deal and bet on himself, he could have indeed cashed in this offseason.

You could argue that because Penn is 34 years old, that maybe he wanted more security, which is what lead to a 2-year deal. A rebuttal to that could be, you cannot have it both ways. You can’t expect full security and to be paid like a top-tier left tackle at 34 years old.

I completely understand Penn’s frustration, but he is not the only frustrated one. General manager, Reggie McKenzie was interviewed earlier this week, and he was quoted as saying “I want him in camp, he has a deal. I want him in camp. We don’t talk contracts unless a guy’s here.”

Penn and McKenzie have grown close over the past few years, but it appears that McKenzie is willing to play hard ball if it comes down to it.

I personally believe that Penn not being in camp will not hurt the Raiders. He is a veteran who is fairly familiar with the offensive system and continuity. If anything, this is more like an extended vacation for Donald, that just happens to cost him as much as $40,000 for every day he extends this “vacation”.

In the end, I believe that Penn will get the money he rightfully deserves, but it might have to be on Reggie McKenzie’s time which means nothing happens until he gets to camp.


  • I disagree with the premise that players are grossly underpaid. I am the opposite; as a business owner, I always side against the players. I know I am in a very small minority, but frankly, most people project their own situations, working for someone else and taking crap every day, onto the players. It’s like the players are the champions of their own personal causes.

    I will say this every time there is a dispute between players and owners (unless it is a safety issue, where players are always correct)…don’t like it, form your own league. If you can’t form your own league and compete, then you get paid what you get paid, and someone else is MORE than willing to take your place.

    I don’t know, if Penn doesn’t want to be a man of his word, play and make 5.8 million dollars this year, then don’t. I could care less. Next man up and move on.

    • I concur with John.

      If Penn truly did not feel that his contract paid him enough or had enough incentives tied into it, then he should not have signed it to terms in the first place. Guess what, he did sign, so he needs to show up and play football.

      He is also a hypocrite for holding out when not too long ago he stated he is not playing for the money.

      For example: my employer recently moved our office into a part of Phoenix that is considered dangerous in terms of the type of daily crimes that are committed. It is also farther from my home than originally expected to be, which costs more for me to pay for gas and it also takes more of my time to get to and from work. Since I am now spending more money on gas, spending more time to get to work and to get home and my own safety is more compromised being in an area of Phoenix where I can get shot unintentionally or mugged - am I allowed to not show up at work because of these reasons? No, because if I do I lose my job.

      Although Penn is being fined 40k for each day he does not show up at camp, I think players that hold out like him should face consequences such as losing their job. He signed his contract, he needs to pay, otherwise him holding out is not only costing him money but it is also a distraction to the team.

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