NAPA, Calif. — Donald Penn’s future with the Raiders may be contingent on a pay cut.
The team has expressed interest in reworking the veteran offensive tackle’s contract, two people familiar with the situation said Tuesday. Penn has yet to practice in training camp while he recovers from a December foot injury. He remains on the club’s Physically Unable to Perform list.
This is the second straight camp in which Penn’s contract is of pertinence.
Last year, he skipped all activities in Napa following a Pro Bowl campaign, desiring long-term security before the final year of his deal. The tactic proved prescient. He reported to the Raiders in late August, played in their first regular-season game and was awarded a two-year, $21 million extension.
On Dec. 17, Penn suffered a Lisfranc fracture against the Dallas Cowboys. He underwent surgery four days later.
Without the contract, Penn would be rehabbing today as a free agent. Instead, among other benefits, he does so with half of his $6 million salary fully guaranteed for 2018. He can earn up to an additional $2.35 million via potential bonuses and incentives this year.
Of those bonuses, the bulk is tied to a $1.75 million roster bonus. That figure is triggered in $109,375 increments for each game in which he’s part of the Raiders’ 46-man active roster.
Collectively, the team is uncomfortable with this structure as it stands.
Exact specifics are unclear, but the Raiders could seek to convert much, if not all, of his $3 million salary into bonuses or incentives. Penn already has benefited from the extension to the tune of $3 million guaranteed. A restructure involving his remaining salary would create more balance to the deal, given the lineman is coming off a significant injury suffered in his 11th NFL season.
He turned 35 in April.
Before the final two weeks in 2017, Penn hadn’t missed a game in his career. He has spent four seasons with the Raiders, earning a Pro Bowl bid in the past two.
Kolton Miller, a rookie first-round pick, has been the team’s best tackle this camp. An ideal arrangement for Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams may be Miller on one side and Penn on the other. Penn must return to health to achieve that.
He may need to accept a salary reduction, too.