A year after left tackle Donald Penn used leverage to his advantage in securing a new contract following a holdout, the Raiders may be attempting to get some of that money back.
Penn, who remains on the physically unable to perform list following Lisfranc surgery, is being asked to take a pay cut, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie declined comment.
Penn, approached by reporters following practice, invoked the team policy of injured players being unavailable to the media but said as he walked to the team hotel, “Y’all have to ask them. You’ll find out before they tell me.”
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said there is no set date for Penn’s return to the field.
“He’s getting close,” Gruden said. “I think Rod Martin our trainer is pleased with the progress he’s made. Hopefully that time is soon.” In 2017 Penn missed the entirety of Napa training camp, reporting to the Raiders when they returned to Alameda. He secured a two-year extension reportedly worth $21 million.
Penn played in 14 games before going out on Dec. 17 with the foot injury. It was the second consecutive season Penn ended the season injured. In 2016, Penn missed the Raiders wild card playoff game against Houston after sustaining a knee injury in the regular-season finale against Denver.
The Raiders began preparation for life without the 35-year-old offensive tackle when they selected UCLA’s Kolton Miller with the 15th overall pick in April’s NFL draft.
Miller has been the first team left tackle through the off-season and training camp and will start Friday night in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions at the Coliseum. Raiders coach Jon Gruden as well defensive defensive linemen have spoke in glowing terms about the performance of the 6-foot-8, 309-pound Roseville High product.
Depending on when Penn recovers, assuming he remains with the team, he could open the season as a reserve. Keeping Penn on the roster would give the Raiders some insurance in case Miller struggles in a division that includes some of the NFL’s top pass rushers.
As it stands, the Raiders would open the regular-season with Miller at left tackle, with veteran Breno Giacomini at right tackle. Depth at tackle includes David Sharpe, rookie Brandon Parker (who has missed time with injury), Ian Silberman and Jylan Ware.
Because of Penn being unavailable, it has delayed their chance to see if Miller could be an option on the right side in an attempt to get their top two tackles on the field. Or if Penn, who has been a left tackle throughout his career, could be available to play on the right.
The Raiders will be watching Miller closely in Friday night’s preseason opener, although it’s not known if he’ll play deeper into the game than the rest of the starting lineup.