Donald Penn “Shouldn’t” Be CutFebruary 28th, 2014
After Joe listened to and talked to both Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, one thing was clear (aside from their disappointment in the shenanigans of Mike Williams): the Bucs’ offensive line must play better.
Bucs fans would agree. What was supposed to be a strength turned to a weakness last year.
Joe has a hunch that Licht will trip salaries on the offensive line. Davin Joseph should be expected to get a call to have his contract reworked, and possibly Donald Penn as well.
Joe knows there are Penn haters, and Joe isn’t sure why. The guy got little help from whoever was playing left guard to fill the void of Carl Nicks’ absence. Joe was at the Bucs-Rams game in St. Louis and thought Penn held his own against one of the best sackmeisters in the game, Robert Quinn, through the game’s first 30 minutes. Joe had his binoculars on Penn on every play in the first half. Joe can confidently say Penn is not the problem on the offensive line.
It seems the stat geeks over at Pro Football Focus agree. They too believe Penn is a competent left tackle but may be asked to redo his contract.
Donald Penn has given Tampa Bay some good years as an above average left tackle, but he’s now entering the more expensive back end of his contract. He shouldn’t be cut, but a renegotiation to ease his $8.0 million cap number makes sense.
Look, Joe likes Penn. Good dude. And, no, Joe doesn’t think that is clouding his view. Penn’s not playing like he was two years ago but he is far from the turnstile Jeremy Trueblood was.
There are three very solid tackles in the front end of the draft: Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan. Joe would not be bummed whatsoever if Licht drafted one of those three, put said draftee at right tackle until Penn’s days with the Bucs are over, and then flipped said player to left tackle.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Penn’s end with the Bucs likely is not that far away. His contract runs out at the end of the 2015 season and he is on the wrong end of 30.