Why Donald Penn’s holdout is Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie’s fault
The Oakland Raiders are without their starting left tackle in training camp and while some fans wish to place the blame on Donald Penn, the blame should fall directly on the shoulders of general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Fans who have not taken the time to follow all of the news before rendering an opinion have tried to frame this as a sudden and surprising move by Penn. That, however, is completely false.
Donald Penn approached Reggie McKenzie way back in April before the scouting combine. That’s over three months that McKenzie had to address Penn’s frustration over his contract. There are those who want to give McKenzie the benefit of the doubt and say he probably didn’t expect Penn to hold out but once again, that simply doesn’t make sense.
If McKenzie didn’t see Penn holding out after how long it took to get him signed last offseason and after Penn came to him early this offseason with complaints, then McKenzie just screwed up. It’s the job of the general manager to be on top of the roster and if he chose to ignore or simply missed all of the signs that Penn might hold out, that’s just doing a bad job. That doesn’t make him a victim, it means he screwed up at one of his responsibilities.
McKenzie knew or should have known that this was a possibility. And perhaps, he was ok letting Penn sit out of camp in order to pull back some leverage. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if that is the case, it was a conscious decision to let things get this far in order to shift leverage. And for fans who want to place all of the blame on Penn have chosen to ignore what was either a mistake by McKenzie or a strategic decision by McKenzie.
Either way, McKenzie had every opportunity to prevent this from happening and didn’t. The Raiders have plenty of cap space, everyone with any basic understanding of NFL contracts knows Penn is being underpaid. There was absolutely no reason things had to get this far aside from McKenzie choosing to let them get this far.
So if the Penn holdout continues and goes into the regular season as some fear, it’s McKenzie who I will blame if anything happens to the golden boy, Derek Carr.