NFL

Raiders sign Penn to man left tackle position

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TSN.ca Staff
3/19/2014 9:47:03 AM
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders filled their void at left tackle on Wednesday by signing free agent Donald Penn to a two-year contract.

Penn fills the opening created when Jared Veldheer left as a free agent for Arizona and left unfilled when Rodger Saffold failed his physical after agreeing to a five-year, $42.5 million deal with Oakland.

NFL Network reported that Penn's contract is worth $9.6 million with $4.2 million guaranteed.

Oakland also announced that safety Usama Young officially signed the two-year deal he agreed to last week to return to the Raiders.

Penn, who turns 30 next month, was released earlier this month by Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers signed Anthony Collins to a five-year, $30 million contract to take over at left tackle.

Penn struggled in pass protection last season with Tampa Bay, allowing 12 sacks, including nine in the final six games, according to Pro Football Focus. Only one tackle -- Will Beatty of the Giants -- was blamed for more sacks last season. Penn also allowed 28 quarterback hurries and six quarterback hits and ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of total pressures allowed.

Penn was more successful as a run blocker -- an area where the Raiders needed improvement this off-season.

He has played in 122 career games over his eight seasons with Tampa Bay, including 108 consecutive starts at left tackle since 2007.

Penn visited Oakland last week but left without signing a deal. He then met with the Washington Redskins about playing right tackle before finally ending up back with the Raiders.

The Raiders have placed a high priority in free agency on upgrading the offensive line, having also reached deals with right tackle Austin Howard and interior lineman Kevin Boothe. They also re-signed Khalif Barnes before he hit the open market.

The Raiders had little continuity on the line last season as injuries and poor play forced Oakland to use eight different starting line combinations.

Young joined Oakland last season on a one-year deal with expectations of becoming the starting free safety. But a little more than a month after signing Young, the Raiders signed Charles Woodson to a one-year deal to fill that spot.

Young moved into a backup role and played well when he got his chance on defence and special teams. He started once in his 12 games before being placed on injured reserve with a neck injury in December.

The 29-year-old Young had one interception, three passes defenced and 2 1/2 sacks last season with the Raiders, playing about one-quarter of the defensive snaps when healthy.

Donald Penn (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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