Donald Penn, Raiders mutually agree to part ways after five seasons


Donald Penn, Raiders mutually agree to part ways after five seasons

The Raiders released veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn, the team announced Saturday afternoon.

Technically speaking, anyway. This transaction came with softer, more respectful phrasing. The Raiders and their longest-tenured player have mutually agreed to part ways.

The move was telegraphed by three things: 1. The Raiders drafted two offensive tackles, including first-rounder Kolton Miller, last year. 2. They paid Trent Brown $36.25 million guaranteed on a four-year deal worth way more if he sees it through. And … 3. The Raiders need to free up some cash after spending heavy through the first week of free agency.

Penn no longer held a prominent place on the depth chart, plus his release saves $5.475 million against the cap and takes $4.5 million in base salary off the books. Penn had $1.75 million in guaranteed money in 2019, though it’s uncertain if that sum held during a discussed parting of ways.

That’s the business end. This cut was handled differently from most, considering Penn’s years of quality service in Silver and Black. He came aboard in 2014 and helped then-rookie quarterback Derek Carr survive a 10-game losing streak to start the season. He had two Pro Bowl seasons with the team and was part of dominant Raiders offensive line during a 2016 playoff season.

That’s why the Raiders rolled out the red carpet for Penn walking out the door. He is not, however, walking into the sunset. He has no plans to retire and wants to return to left tackle after one year on the right. His career will continue, but the Raiders wanted to give him a proper sendoff.

“It is always hard to say goodbye to players that you respect and love both for their on-field efforts and the people that they are off the field,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a team-issued statement. “Donald Penn is another one of those great Raiders who have come into the organization and left an indelible mark on the franchise and the Raider Nation as a whole. He came to Oakland already with a deep passion for Raiders football and served as a leader and example for the team for five memorable seasons.

"Donald will always be a Raider and his presence will be missed by the entire Raiders Family. I wish the absolute best for Donald and his family.”

Penn was involved in the community with his annual Thanksgiving turkey handouts, which gave holiday meals to dozens of needy families in the East Bay. He also sponsored a “shop with a jock” event that provided toys for impoverished children around Christmas.

Penn was an excellent left tackle for years until injuries started to drag him down. He suffered a knee injury that held him out of a playoff game in the 2016 season, and he suffered a foot injury just before 2017 ended.

He still was recovering from the foot ailment when Miller was drafted. Penn was moved to right tackle to clear a path for the young buck, but a groin injury ended his season early. He never returned off IR, and won’t play in silver and black again.

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He will play elsewhere, a point made clear in a farewell message to Raiders fans that includes some not-so-subtle hints that he’ll return to left tackle.

“I’ve got a lot of football LEFT!” he wrote.

Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 overall 'surprised a lot of people'


Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 overall 'surprised a lot of people'

ALAMEDA – The Raiders surprised most everyone by taking Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick.

There’s no reason to raise an eyebrow at his talent level, college production or Raiders defensive scheme fit. There aren’t red flags to find with this grinder raised in a military family. He fills the team’s most pressing need rushing off the edge.

Curiosity comes solely from the draft slot. He was projected to go after several edge rushers still available when the Raiders picked, but the Raiders had a different draft ranking.

Theirs is the only one that matters.

They wanted Nick Bosa, who went No. 2 to San Francisco. They wanted Quinnen Williams, who went No. 3 to the New York Jets. The Raiders went with a safe, steady player expected to be productive at the NFL level. He doesn’t have the raw athleticism of some other defensive ends in the draft, but he produces. He’s reliable. He’s a stand-up guy with great character. He’s a pro’s pro, with an arsenal of pass-rush moves already at his disposal.

“It surprised me,” Ferrell said. “It surprised a lot of people. ...It was a great honor to be taken at that moment. I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to be a part of this franchise.”

He was projected to be available far later in the first round, likely a mid-round pick who might’ve been available as deep as the team’s two other first-round picks at Nos. 24 and 27 overall. A trade down to the early teens could’ve still netted Ferrell, in theory anyway.

All it would take is one team as in love with Ferrell as the Raiders to dash their grand plan to pick the Clemson alum. There were no trades. The Raiders took Ferrell at No. 4 overall.

They did so with Josh Allen still on the board. The Raiders didn’t consider the Kentucky edge rusher, a good fit.

The Raiders were believed to like Oliver, but he didn’t fill as pressing a need with promising three technique Maurice Hurst already on the roster.

The Raiders went with a guy they could trust at a pick they had in front of them, even if those on the outside considered it a reach. Time will tell if it was, as we compared NFL production to 4-3 edge rushers taken above and below Ferrell, who owns the No. 4 slot.

The Raiders would be thrilled with a repeat of his college production. He had 27 sacks and 50.5 tackles for a loss in three college seasons, and consistently proved capable of creating havoc off the edge. The Raiders need production above all else rushing the passer, and Ferrell can deliver that. He also works to set the edge in the run game and could be an every-down player right away. The Raiders certainly need that a position of great need, after totaling just 13 sacks a year ago.


NFL Draft 2019: Clelin Ferrell to Raiders at No. 4 overall shocks many

NFL Draft 2019: Clelin Ferrell to Raiders at No. 4 overall shocks many

The Mike Mayock era started with a bit of a surprise on Thursday night in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

In the first draft with general manager Mayock and coach Jon Gruden at the helm for the Raiders, they selected defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. Though Ferrell was an All-American at Clemson as a junior where he recorded 11.5 sacks last season, many expected him to go later in the draft. 

Some teams even had a second-round grade on Ferrell, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported. 

To say they least, plenty of people were a shocked to hear Ferrell's name called this high in the draft. 

But Raiders players are welcoming the defensive end with open arms.