ALAMEDA, Calif. — The contract Donald Penn has sought for months appears close to coming to fruition.
The Raiders are finalizing a two-year extension with their veteran left tackle, a source said Wednesday. Negotiations picked up following his first game Sunday, one in which he played all 66 of the offense’s snaps versus the Tennessee Titans. Talks have progressed quickly and are expected to culminate with a contract signed as early as this week.
This is a promise made good.
When Penn ended a 26-day holdout on Aug. 23, he did so feeling assured that, by doing so, the front office would address his situation. Penn, 34, entered 2017 slated to earn $5.8 million in salary with another $750,000 in possible incentives. His current contract also was set to expire in March.
Language is still being finalized on the new deal. But its compensation is expected to fall more in line with a top-10 player at his position, and it will keep him under team control through the 2019 season. The Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth owns the 10th-highest annual contract value among left tackles at $11.25 million per year, according to Spotrac.
Penn was unavailable Wednesday afternoon to comment.
On Tuesday, he did address reporters following his first full game. Penn acknowledged he was unsure, after skipping all of training camp and logging just two offensive series all preseason, how his body would respond to Sunday’s heavy workload. As a precaution, he received intravenous fluid (IV) before kickoff. Offensive line coach Mike Tice also had a plan ready to provide Penn a breather if needed, Penn said.
That plan likely involved tackle David Sharpe, a rookie fourth-round pick, entering from the bench.
The need never arose.
“I was surprised at myself with how good of shape I was in and how I went through that game,” Penn said.
“It all worked out. Now, I’ve just got to keep building.”
Penn’s extension, once completed, ensures continued stability on the Raiders’ offensive line.
In July, the Raiders signed right guard Gabe Jackson to a five-year, $56.8 million extension. He is under contract through 2022. Left guard Kelechi Osemele’s deal is through 2020; center Rodney Hudson’s is 2019. Right tackle is the least established position on the line. But right tackle Marshall Newhouse, the starter on Sunday, signed a two-year contract in March.
All the talent up front emboldens coach Jack Del Rio.
His confidence in the unit factors into decision-making, such as whether or not to keep his offense on the field for a fourth-and-short conversion attempt. Del Rio did so Sunday. In the first quarter, the Raiders had fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee Titans’ 3-yard line. They converted behind a physical Marshawn Lynch run.
Penn was part of that offensive line on Sunday.
Soon, a contract should keep it that way for beyond 2017.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at email@example.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.