ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders signed offensive lineman Donald Penn to a $21 million, two-year extension, ensuring the Pro Bowl left tackle will remain with the team through the 2019 season.
Penn, 34, had missed much of training camp and preseason while holding out in search of a new contract. He is making $5.8 million in base salary this season but had been looking for a deal that would put him in the top 10 of offensive linemen.
The new deal, announced Friday, puts Penn in the top 15 and kicks in after this season.
“It’s good, now I can focus on football,” Penn said. “I can just enjoy my teammates, enjoy everything, enjoy the process and just focus on football because there was a lot of doubt. I didn’t want to hit free agency again. That’s one thing I tried to make sure.”
Penn said his contract enables him to live out his childhood dream of retiring with the Raiders, a dream that didn’t look so promising even a week ago.
According to Penn, he went into last week’s game against Tennessee wondering if he would get a new contract.
“I had serious doubts,” Penn said. “I definitely had serious doubts. I thought maybe we were going to wait until the offseason or wait until later on in the year, see how I was going to come into the season and play maybe. But they stared communicating. I’m happy to get it done.”
Penn’s extension gives the Raiders the highest-paid offensive line in the NFL. Right guard Gabe Jackson signed a $56 million, five-year extension this past offseason, while center Rodney Hudson ($44.5 million over five years) and left guard Kelechi Osemele ($58.5 million, five years) are also in the midst of lucrative deals.
Oakland’s line is also considered one of the best. The Raiders gave up league-low 18 sacks in 2016 and were sixth in rushing.
Getting back with that group, Penn said, was more important than his new contract. That and some respect.
“When you do something and you feel like you do something very, very well and you look at other people — and I’m not going to down nobody or nothing — but you look at other people and they’re not doing as well as you and they’re getting compensated a lot more than you, that was more of what it was,” Penn said. “It’s like I’ve been doing this for so long and so many years. I’m not trying to be selfish, but when is it going to be my turn?
“They kept their word and did everything possible. It’s just a relief. Now let’s get onto the Jets.”
In addition to Penn’s extension, the Raiders announced that first-round draft pick Gareon Conley has been medically cleared and is expected to play Sunday in Oakland’s home opener.
“We all worked together to get me back and just wanted to make sure I was good when I came back,” Conley said. “I just can’t wait to go out there and play. For the past three months I haven’t been doing anything. Just being out there with them, the DBs, the defense, it just feels good.”