Show Donald Penn The Money

June 14th, 2010

Joe has written time and again one could make a good argument that Donald Penn was perhaps the Bucs best player last year.

Steve White is doing just that.

The former Bucs defensive end, who Joe is humbled to have a write a weekly “Bull Rush” column for him, writes on his own blog stating the Bucs should man up and pay Penn what he is deserved.

On an offensive line that everyone seems to say underachieved he was the bell cow. Sunday after Sunday he faced teams best pass rusher and more than held his own. As a matter of fact in many games he was dominant. And lets look at some of the guys he faced last year. Demarcus Ware, Osi Umenyiora, Andre Carter, Julius Peppers, Trent Cole, Clay Matthews, Will Smith and John Abraham.

That’s what you call a murderers row of defensive ends to face in one season. And you tell me, how many bad games did he have? I don’t remember any. That’s not to say he didn’t allow any sacks all year. But it is to say at the end of most of the games last season I would say he got the better of each exchange.

The Bucs say they want to build a dynasty that will hold up over time. Well one of the essential elements of doing that is locking up your own talent long term. The reason why the Bucs were good to great from around 1997 to 20002 was the fact that they identified their outstanding players early on and locked them down with long term deals. Now, at a time when the team is close to silent in free agency, how can they possibly justify not signing one of their best and most consistent players to a long term deal?

While Joe believes Penn is worth the money, Joe’s convinced this won’t happen until a CBA with the players union is agreed upon. Whether this will be too late too soothe Penn’s hurt feelings, only time will tell.

48 Responses to “Show Donald Penn The Money”

  1. Louie Says:

    It’s sure looking like we’ll be picking a LT early in the first round next year.

  2. Eric S Says:

    It is so hard to get a decent LT. This is probably the 2nd most important position on offense. I get the whole CBA holdup. But sometimes you just have to bypass all that crap and give an important player a long term deal. You are not going to get a good LT through free agency. The ones that are available usually are past their prime. Getting a good LT through a trade would be costly financially and with the loss of draft picks. The other option is through the draft. The really good LTs go very early. I personally don’t like wasting a draft pick when the Bucs already have the player on their roster. Penn knows the system, has played well and deserves the raise.

    I can see the argument that will come from some of the posters. Every team is doing it. So what!! Penn is a good player and he just wants fair market value for being a quality LT. The other argument is that he should take the 3 mil and shut up. Just stop already. If I was an athlete, I would do exactly what Penn is doing. Football players are entertainers. Just like actors. It is amazing how actors don’t get half as much grief as football players for the salaries they make. Football players risk their long term health for playing this “game” and they should reap the rewards.

  3. lightningbuc Says:

    Donald Penn must be a bit slow. What part of “building through the draft” doesn’t he understand? He needs to realize that he is already 27 and that the NFL is “going younger.” And also that there will be lots of quality Left Tackles available in the draft. He really should read this forum more.

  4. NotAGlazer Says:

    It’s not asking a player to be loyal to live under the contract he signed. When Penn is a free agent he can do what he wants, as it is he has to play and play well under is current deal.

    I think it was the Bucs that took a chance on him and picked him up off a practice squad. Now he has to do his time and get paid a little later than others that didn’t land on the practice squad. No need to be a baby about it. Wait your turn Donald, if you do well you’ll get paid. If you don’t or get hurt you won’t. That’s life.

  5. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Steve said what I have been saying but what is most obvious according to the Bucs alleged plan:

    “Well one of the essential elements of doing that (re-building young, with home grown talent) is locking up your own talent long term.”

    And my position is this, if the Bucs sign Penn now, and he underperforms, then they can just draft the future Left Tackle next year, and keep Penn as the starter until that LT is ready… then use Penn as a back-up or trade him…

    Now seems to be an opportunity to sign him cheap… because if he performs well this year, in his contract year, then they will have to pay him through the nose next year… and having a good 2010 doesn’t prove that he is the LT of the future either… so if they are so worried… sign him cheap now, and replace him if need be later.

  6. Mr. Lucky Says:

    RahDom – are U really that dense? Sign him cheap now? I guess 3.2 million is a bargin? Goodness people no wonder our country is in the mess we’re in!

    A few million here, a couple million there, 700 billion for a bailout. Geez Louis we’re not talking peanuts here!

    As for comparing NFL players salaries to actors – don’t even go there. For crying out loud the next thing we’ll hear is that lawyers aren’t paid enough either right? 😉

  7. Eric S Says:

    If it wasn’t for this CBA mess, he would have been a FA. He and the other RFA in his situation got screwed because of this. It is disingenuous to say he signed this contract. The Bucs are just extending his expired contract so to speak. Players have long memories. If I was Penn, I would sign the tender and bolt after the season. The Bucs and the other teams are taking advantage of the situation. When and if the salary cap comes back, the Bucs won’t be anywhere near the limit even if they sign Penn to a long term deal. I just don’t get it. Get a good player secured through the next 3-4 years or have to rely on FA/trade/draft for the next LT. You know what you are getting with Penn and you have no clue with the second option. It makes no sense to me.

  8. Mr. Lucky Says:

    The other thing is this – the Bucs aren’t going anywhere this year (playoff wise) so why throw any money around?

    2011 will be a strike/lockout and with less $$$ on the line the Glazers won’t suffer as much as the Redskins…meaning certain team owners can “hold out” longer than others.

    Once 2012 starts we can all expect the bubby to flow again, give all these players their millions and raise ticket prices to slightly less than a used car price.

  9. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Eric, when has the current administration done anything that makes sense?

    Clayton, AB release, Crowell, firing Chucky, that kicker who couldn’t?

    Etc., etc., etc.

  10. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Also, if they let him walk, then draft a LT, then the Bucs offense will have to WAIT for the LT to develop stunting the offense’s potential again.

  11. JimBuc Says:

    Much ado about nothing. Of course Penn deserves a deal. It is just a question of how much and when.

  12. Mr. Lucky Says:

    think about it this way Eric,

    After this season and the 2011 lockout/strike, the Bucs will be in need of a new Center and LT. Well we’ll have good draft picks so….

    They can build a new offensive line (ready for this) THRU THE DRAFT

    Code words – thru the draft = on the cheap!

  13. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Hey Joe, since you said Donald contact you ask Mr. Penn this question: What is he looking for?

    $4 million a year…$5 million…unlimited wings at Mugs Grill & Bar? (boy with Donald would THAT be expensive!)

  14. Eric S Says:

    The Bucs have a ton of starters that will be free agents after this season. It would be good to eliminate one worry for after the season. But I guess the Bucs will let him and others go and thus start the rebuilding process once again. Brilliant plan.

  15. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Lucky… the 3.2 million is a REQUIREMENT! It is less than the 110% that they will have to cough up.

    And back on you, why are the Glazers so cheap? What is wrong with spending 4.2 vs 3.2? That 4.2 to 5 mil range would give the Bucs offense the needed consistency with a few more years of depth or late round trade potential.

    To me, it’s thge Bucs being penny pinchers OVER THE WRONG POSITION! And for what? To save a million on salary? Why even spend 80 million on players salaries collectively then if you aren’t even gonna try to win? So 81 million as a team is too much vs 80? (assuming team salary is 80 mil as a similar example so don’t argue that point).

    The point is, the LT is the blindside protector, it’s not condusive to the offense’s growth and QB and the WRs potential to risk on Xavier Fulton this year, and a rookie LT next… with no other experience on the LT depth chart…

    The Buccaneers are managing theirselves out of the competition with POOR resource management… just so they can save 1 million out of 80.

  16. Mr. glazer Says:

    Eric wrote: “The Bucs have a ton of starters that will be free agents after this season. It would be good to eliminate one worry for after the season. But I guess the Bucs will let him and others go and thus start the rebuilding process once again. Brilliant plan.”

    Thank you sir for finally seeing the light!

    We told you that there was a plan all along… 😉

  17. Mr. Lucky Says:


    I suggest you re-read the article sir. The 3.2 million 1 year tender offered to Penn is MORE than 110% of last year’s salary.

    If Penn doesn’t sign the 3.2 million then the Bucs had said they will reduce the price to 3.1 million which is what they are required to pay ACCORDING TO THE CONTRACT PENN ORIGINALLY SIGNED!!!!!

    Ask Eric the Lawyer if you don’t believe me.

  18. JimBuc Says:

    The whole Penn discussion is so puzzling. Is everyone aware that Penn’s situation is not unique and has very little to do with the Bucs and more to do with the league? I guess not given all the discussion.

  19. Eric Says:


    Saints, Broncos, Colts all signed RFA’s to long term deals.

    Why not the bucs?

  20. Capt.Tim Says:

    Penn needs to be the exception. He has been underpaid for some time. Sign him. He is a very, very good LT. And they don’t grow on trees!
    Notaglazer, ah, his contract is up. He fullfilled it. And not signing new contracts until the CBA is signed is what the owners AND the players union agreed to.
    But I think you break ranks over Donald Penn. He has played for low dollar for a while. Think we show our young LT the love.

  21. JimBuc Says:

    Eric, as you are well aware, I can see your Saints, Broncos and Colts and raise them by every other team in the league. In fact, even the teams you name have not signed everyone.

    Nice try pot stirrer. 🙂

  22. JimBuc Says:

    Capt Tim: he is a good LT but he has not actually been underpaid. He has made more, over the same period of time, then at leat one Pro Bowl LT. That said, he deserves a new deal and, I suspect, he will get one.

  23. BamBamBuc Says:

    Look, everyone, I see both sides of the puzzle here. Penn, since Pettigout’s injury, has stepped in and performed admirably. He deserves to be paid as a starting LT in the NFL. In the same respect, he was an undrafted rookie free agent. His initial contract was pennies compared to what the current offer on the table is. He was never intended to be a starting LT, only depth behind Pettigout. Based on his performance, he should get paid. I think $3.2M is pretty good for a one year deal for a guy that has done well over a couple years and came in as an undrafted rookie free agent.. Is he the best in the NFL? Worth the biggest contract in the NFL at LT? No, but he should be paid.

    Now, some are saying it’s”so hard” to find a good LT. I don’t disagree, they don’t slip through the draft very often (except in Penn’s case). It’s very costly to sign top notch FA players if and when they are available. Trades are costly not only in salary, but in draft choices (which is one of the reasons for limited activity in both those arenas the past couple years). That said, it’s not impossible to “find” a starting LT to replace Penn if we must. Just as Penn stepped in and surprised when Pettigout went out with injury, who’s to say that Dotson (another URFA) couldn’t step in and perform “admirably”, or draft choice Xavier Fulton? I’m not saying it WILL happen, but it’s obviously possible, just look at Penn. In fact, if I were Penn, I’d be worried that maybe some young kid may step in while I’m holding out and really impress and take the job from him. Why not? He did it.

    Penn is a good LT, and I’d love to have him signed to a contract and in practice with the rest of the team. There is a one year deal for him right now. Play well this year, hope for a new CBA (talk to your NFLPA rep and tell him to get the deal done), and next off-season you will have the world at your fingertips. You can negotiate with any team for any length contract you desire.

  24. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Good Lord, this is a No Brainer. Don Penn is a real sleeper of a left tackle, who cares where he was drafted ? Tell Tom Brady he was a low draft pick, and not deserving of a decent paycheck ? Penn played well for us last year, good left tackles are not easy to find. We want this man happy, please pay him Mark ?

  25. Eric Says:


    Why do the bucs have to do things like “other teams in the league” and not like the Saints, Broncos and Colts?

    Or is left tackle suddenly an unimportant position in the league?

  26. JimBuc Says:

    Eric, you are a funny one. You put up your bogus argument and then ask me why the Bucs don’t have to adhere to it. LOL. All I said was that Penn’s situation is not unique. You brought up a few exceptions to the general rule that most teams are not extending guys. Fair enough, but now you want to know why the Bucs should not be part of the exception? C’mon now.

  27. JimBuc Says:

    Just for you Eric:

  28. RustyRhino Says:

    Penn Is a good LT yes he is, but he has issues as well, going from 305-ish to 350-360 is not something i think the team wants to happen again, he says and we hear he has lost 40 or so pounds but have you seen him? I see old photos of him but nothing new. If we can sign him to a long term contract that has clauses in place about his weight and other things( being at OTA’s ) then lets offer him a 4 year deal.

    And i do agree with Penn needing to be worried about his position, you can workout all you want and get ripped… but you need to practice with the team to become a cohesive unit.. so if your not out there working together with the team how is this going to help your teammates who ARE in your LT spot plenty id say.. even if it is only depth, oh yeah as i recall when we got Penn he got to run more with the first team as Pettigout was limited in OTA’s and TC… and what happned?

  29. Louie Says:

    I’m pretty sure Penn isn’t too concerned about somebody replacing him in the lineup. In fact, that might be a good thing for him. The Buc would trade him and he’d get the long-term deal he’s been looking for.

  30. RustyRhino Says:

    Who was he again? before we got him off of someones practice squad?

  31. jarrett Says:

    @ rusty rhino

    That is the stupidest take on the situation ever. It does not matter where he was drafted or what he was before he came here. THis is what truly matters, If the entire buc line-up were magically unrestricted free agents tommorrow, Donald Penn would get the most interest and the biggest contract out of anyone on our team. Hands Down
    He needs to be signed now. He will get 7-9 million a year from about six different teams in free agency. He will not be a buc if he is allowed to test free agency, because we are not outbidding anyone. Sign Penn Now

  32. JimBuc Says:

    jarrett — how will he get to free agency?

  33. BamBamBuc Says:

    The point about “where he was drafted” is simply to show those that believe there are very few ways to get a decent LT that it is possible (as proven by Penn) to find a starting LT in other ways. Those that believe you can only get a starting LT with a first round draft choice (top dollar), via trade (top dollar plus draft choices or players) or via free agency (top dollar or RFA top dollar with draft choices). There are other ways.

    That said, Penn is good and should get paid as a starting LT in the league. Not as a premiere LT in the league, because there are better LTs, but as a decent starter. $3.2 million is pretty good, maybe a bit low, but still pretty good.

    Now, as a business owner, I know that if I had the option to keep a employee at a predetermined price for one year, that the employee couldn’t even seek employment with a competitor for that year, and if they didn’t agree to the contract I set out that they’d be unemployed for the year…. I’d probably stick to my guns as the team is doing. I’m not one to overpay employees based on future production unnecessarily. If I have to pay them or lose them immediately, I’ll probably pay them if they’re good. That, however, is not the case here. Penn is good, but he can’t negotiate with any other team at this point (RFA post-draft) and only has two options (sign or sit out). He can negotiate for another contract, but the team is not obligated in any way to negotiate. Simple business.

  34. Mr. Lucky Says:

    If “I” were Donald Penn I would do this: List my services on e-Bay

    Left offensive NFL tackle seeks winning football team in need of protective services. Will be available to work in 2011. I’m big, I’m bad and I’m beefy. However I won’t work for peanuts.

  35. Eric Says:


    Perhaps winning requires more than merely following the “general rule”.

  36. JimBuc Says:

    Eric — lots of winners asking their RFAs to sign their tenders, even teams that you identified as role models for the Bucs

  37. gotbbucs Says:

    Alright, who’s to say that the Bucs haven’t already offered Penn a fair market contract and he’s holding out for more? Who’s to say that they didn’t offer to pay him if he allowed there to be a “weight gain” clause in the contract like the Steelers did to Hampton?
    Penn was in a contract year last year and somehow managed to gain 40 or 50 pounds DURING the season. That is unacceptable and the team should be worried about that. He’s a solid pass protector but he’s a pretty lazy run blocker.
    Does Penn deserve some sort of contract extension? Yes, but not without a weight gain clause in it and not a “Top 5” at his position deal. Bottom line, the league is basically at a standstill overall on giving out new contracts to RFA’s with the exeption of a few guys. The Bucs have a monsterous pile of players that will be FA’s next year and they really need to see where the slary cap will be set at before they just start throwing around contracts to everybody, even the guys that everyone knows deserves them.

  38. Patrick Says:

    How can we even enjoy ourselves right now if we know that all of our good players will free agents next offseason??!! I highly doubt the Glazers will write that many contracts and then we’ll be rebuilding all over again.

    Didn’t the Glazers say in an interview earlier this year that before they go out and sign free agents, they need try and keep “their own” players?? Boy they aren’t even doin that! I’d like to actually identify a secure player on our team.

    Sign Penn! He’s played good football for 3 seasons now and he deserves a deal. I don’t want to hear about the gaining weight crap! The guy weighed 365 pounds and dropped back down back down to 325. 40 pounds lost! Give Penn credit because that’s pretty damn good progress!!! Maybe he hasn’t reached freakin “305” yet, but how fast do you expect him to lose all of it? He’s on the right track. You people who are against Penn are really stupid. If we don’t have him around, our offense will be screwed! Freeman, Caddy, and everyone else.

    Just wait, I see the Bucs parting ways with Penn just like they foolishly did with Antonio Bryant.

  39. gotbbucs Says:

    Patrick, do you understand that he started last season at 325 and by the end of the season he was up to 365? Gaining 40 pounds during the season in his contract year is a major red flag that he isn’t taking things seriously.

    I can remember when Gruden was still Head Coach and the media would ask him about Penn and all he would really say is that Donald was doing a good job but that he didn’t want to give him too much credit because that kind of stuff went straight to his head and he was worried that he wouldn’t get the same kind of effort out of him.
    Penn’s pretty good but he’s not even close to being a “Top 5” Left Tackle and I’m guessing that’s what he wants to get paid like though.

  40. Eric Says:

    This is gonna be a huge deal. As Jimbuc has been saying very few RFA signings.

    A big fat collusion suit is sure to follow, and these owners have been acting pretty darn arrogant and stupid in their frank remarks about the CBA and not signing guys.

  41. BamBamBuc Says:


    Even with that article, the comments that follow from the fans is the same. Draft choices are gold, especially when there are fewer UFAs available. The Union is just as guilty of collusion as the NFL owners. Etc.

    Those aren’t Buc fans commenting, they are fans of other teams as well. They are saying the same thing I, and some others, have been saying. Without a CBA, there are fewer UFAs, teams don’t want to give up draft choices, players are stuck with what they get because owners don’t have to give them more, next year (with a new CBA) ALL teams will have a boat load of UFAs to resign (but they’ll also know the new salary cap).

    It’s business. Some things in business are preventitive, but when there is nothing preventitive to do you cut back and ride it out until you can begin spending again. That’s what owners are doing. Around the league. The state of the Bucs is similar to the state of every other NFL team, now and after this season. Every team will be scrambling to resign their own players they want to keep, then the market will open up and UFAs will be signed around the NFL.

  42. RahDomDaBest Says:

    The fallacy about the collective bargaining issue is that somehow there won’t be a 2011 season.

    There is too much money to be lost to endure a long strike… and that goes for both sides.

    If the Bucs honestly are giving up on 2011, then they obviously gave up on 2010 (which is no secret). The problem is, giving up vs growing a solid, young foundation are two entirely different approaches.

    What good is a young, developing QB and rookie WRs if their is no starting Left Tackle worth a darn to protect the blindside? With no blindside protection the offense will fall apart yet again, and the #1 excuse for 2010 will be Donald Penn and how he geedily sat out of the 2010 pre-season or didn’t sign a contract at all… all because the Tampa Bay Buccaneer and their poor resource managment wanted to save a few pennies.

    The Buccaneers are risking going into a 2010 season, an important one for the young offense, WITHOUT a starting LT worth a darn. Donald Penn is ready… worst case scenario, he makes a great back up next season if they draft a LT high… which in turn gives the Bucs depth their… I mean come on.

  43. JimBuc Says:

    RahDom — couple errors:

    “There is too much money to be lost to endure a long strike… and that goes for both sides.”

    No chance of a strike, just a lockout.

    “The Buccaneers are risking going into a 2010 season, an important one for the young offense, WITHOUT a starting LT worth a darn”

    No they are not. 100% guaranteed he plays because he would lose a year. That’s the point most miss.

  44. Louie Says:

    @JimBuc, as Steve White pointed out, Penn could sit out all but the last 6 games of the season and still be a UFA after the season. I doubt he’ll take it that far because he’ll lose all but 6 games of salary, but it is an option he could take.

  45. RahDomDaBest Says:

    And if he were to do a last minute signing, it only means he will more than likely walk at the end of the season… unless Tampa is the ONLY starting LT gig he can muster in 2011.

    Tampa will never franchise Penn in 2011… if anything, they’ll franchise Ruud, but not Penn.

    My overall point, in which I do have careless errors with some facts I admit (but I am just blurting away on a blog… not interested in doing a research project… my point is in essence), my overall point is that Tampa could lock him up for 3 years or so, and still draft a LT to replace him, while also guarenteeing depth at LT… else, risk him walking next year OR him having a great year and commanding more money.

    For this particular situation, the Bucs have the opportunity to lock up at the very worst, depth at LT because LT’s are difficult to replace while risking a total collapse on offense with an unproven LT.

    I also think they should lock up Ruud as well… but I think Ruud’s agent may be wanting top MLB dollars for Ruud… so that is a tough call…. BUT, Ruud is good… so does it really hurt to lock up a starting, experienced, fan favorite MLB?

    Imagine if the Bucs locked up Penn and Ruud, and they performed well… then in the 2011 draft, they could easily fill other needs, RB or Safety or DE… but if they let them 2 walk, then they have to replace that experience as well…

    Bottom line, it is easier to replace fewer players than more… why not help mitigate the player needs problem by locking up some quality depth with those two proven starters?

  46. BamBamBuc Says:

    I understand fans wanting to have players “locked up” to contracts now, rather than later. It makes sense… as a fan. As an owner of a business, it doesn’t make sense to pay anyone more than you have to until the need arises. The team is not approaching this as if there will be no 2011 season. Quite the contrary, they are counting on there being a 2011 season. What they can’t count on is… what will the salary cap be for the 2011 season? What will the free agent restrictions be in 2011? Will it be 3, 4, 5, or 6 years to become an unrestricted free agent? Depending on many of those considerations, who will be available/unavailable in the free agent market on our team or from other teams? The team, I’m sure, has many guesses as to what those answers will be, but they are just guesses. They can plan accordingly for multiple scenarios, but cannot act on anything but what is known now. With that, they are doing what they (and most other teams) feel is necessary. They are keeping payroll low (leaving cap room available to sign as many players as possible before free agency begins on our own team and having room left to sign players away from other teams). In the case that there is not a season next year (lockout), they are minimizing salaries that carry over beyond this season. Obviously, they must sign some players to longer terms (i.e. rookies typically are signed to 3-6 year deals).

    Players from all around the league that are RFAs this season are not happy, but most have accepted the state of the NFL as it stands now and have signed their tender offers. Some are holding out for long term deals which probably won’t happen. Some were offered “sign and trade” deals, as in the case of Brandon Marshall. He signed his tender on the condition he was traded to the Dolphins and the contract would be negotiated with the new team. He STILL had to sign the tender before that could happen though. Otherwise, the Dolphins would have had to give up the prerequisite 1st and 3rd round draft choice for him.

    Penn was not sought after by another team before the draft, and is now in a situation where he can only negotiate with the Buccaneers. That limitation leaves him in a position of very little bargaining power. Of course he could say “they have nobody else to fill my spot”, but that was the situation when Pettigout was the starter as well, and Penn stepped in. It’s a risk he can take. He can choose to hold out for the bigger contract and possibly get it (doubtful) or possibly lose the starting job to some up and coming surprise player that out-performs expectations. Not much of an upside for Penn, unless he signs the tender and plays well this year. Then he’ll hit the big payday next year. Kinda sad for Penn, but that’s the state of the NFL this season. Not much choice but to deal with it.

  47. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Of course he could say “they have nobody else to fill my spot”

    And that is the leverage he is using.

    I’m sure after a bit of posturing, he will sign the 110% 1 season deal… notice, 1 season deal. He’ll then move on to another team.

    UNLESS, Tampa thinks that he can’t find another starting LT job… then Penn would sign with Tampa for 2011.

    But it is a risk the ucs are taking… watching a starting NFL Left Tackle walk away this upcoming off-season. And don’t think for a minute that Penn won’t test the market, unless the Bucs give him an enticing deal in Jan/Feb 2011.

  48. Louie Says:

    This is getting good. Penn has called the Bucs bluff by blowing off today’s deadline to sign the offer. I guess he’s prepared to lose $100K and continue the fight for a long-term deal.