RAIDERS 2017 TRAINING CAMP: Palace intrigue has cometh to the Oakland Raiders as they open up training camp on July 29th. RT Austin Howard and ST Taiwan Jones were released while LT Donald Penn is holding out. A couple players have also been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Any positive news? Yeah. Training Camp 2017 is underway and all rookies have been signed.
OAKLAND RAIDERS 2017 TRAINING CAMP
Austin Howard signed a 5 year $30M contract in 2014 and has started 39 games in three years with the Silver and Black. While he’s played very well at times, injuries over the past two years have prevented him from being the force Oakland was hoping for when they inked him to the big deal. Howard was due $4.9M this year and Oakland’s management couldn’t justify the salary. By cutting Howard in 2017, the dead cap money is limited to $2.4M.
Taiwan Jones wasn’t going to get any touches on offense and most likely none as a kick returner with the signing of KR/WR Cordarrelle Patterson. In fact, Jones had only eight returns in 2016. That means Taiwan’s only impact on the team would be as a Gunner. He’s was the Raiders best in 2016 but the coaching staff and management obviously felt the value didn’t justify a salary of $1.5M, not with a crew young players ready to step in. The Raiders could resign Jones at a lower salary but the league minimum for an 8-year veteran is $900k. Some improvement but not much. He will probably look to catch on with another team in the hopes of rejuvenating his career. We wish him luck.
And then there’s LT Donald Penn. Statistics and numbers can be shifty things. If you look at the totality of Penn’s two-year contract, he’s the 20th highest paid LT In the NFL. If you look only at his 2017 salary of $5.8M, he comes in at number 11. Penn feels he’s outperformed his contract and the Raiders should offer him a new contract commensurate with a top 10 LT. In reality Donald Penn is looking for respect.
Penn signed his two-year deal in March of 2016 so a natural question is why didn’t he hold out for more last year? Well, he and the Raiders thought the deal was fair for a 33-year-old Tackle. Having a darn good season has led to buyer’s remorse but maybe he should be upset with agent for not demanding an incentive laden deal. The problem now is he’s 34 and coming off a knee injury. The reality is, and this applies to the NFL and other high skilled professions, you’re paid for what you can do in the present and the future, not what you did in the past. Penn is saying the Raiders got a great deal in year one and that might be true. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of what will happen in year two and that is why it’s hard to support Donald Penn at this point in time.
Oakland is primed to make a run at the AFC Championship but they need a reliable starter on Derek Carr’s blindside. Penn is probably looking for $8.5M to $9M, which the Raiders can afford, but it also sets a dangerous precedent. Some have said the 34-year-old is doing this to give his aging body more time to heal and rest. Possible, very possible but we think it is about the money and about respect.
The Oakland Raiders first day in pads is July 31stR.
Players on the Active – Physically Unable to Perform List:
CB Gareon Conley – DL Jihad Ward – G Jon Feliciano