Free-agent offensive tackle Donald Penn explored his value on the open market but opted for a return to the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday.
Penn announced his return via an Instagram post:
The news came after Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Raiders and Penn were "finalizing" a new contract, citing sources. Tafur noted that a scheduled visit with the New York Giants "gave Penn some leverage" and forced an increased offer from the Raiders.
Penn started all 16 games and was tasked with protecting quarterback Derek Carr's blind side at left tackle.
Carr's cannon arm was unleashed on the NFL in 2015 after a rookie season full of dink-and-dunk passes. He capitalized more on his arm talent and showed promise he could be the Raiders' franchise QB, throwing for 3,987 yards and 32 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions.
In an interview with CSNCalifornia.com (via CSNBayArea.com's Scott Bair) in February, though, Penn said he hadn't discussed a potential return to the team since the season ended:
I'm not going to lie. I'm a little disappointed in the Oakland Raiders right now...That's just me being honest. I don't talk to my agent about deals during the season because I like to focus on my play. But, going into the offseason we talked and my agent said he talked to the team and they said they want me back and want me back. That's what they told me before I left, but I haven't heard from them since the season ended.
But Penn did add that he has a "great relationship" with Carr and the rest of the offensive line.
Having started every game for the Raiders over the past two seasons, Penn has done enough to earn another payday, likely of the two- or three-year variety given the value of his position and the fact that he's turning 33 in April.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout hasn't missed a start since the 2007 campaign, proving to be a paragon of durability and a key part of the team's plans to protect Carr going forward.
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