Roy Cummings, of the Tampa Tribune is reporting the Buccaneers have slapped the highest qualifying tender on restricted free agent left tackle Donald Penn. Penn who has been a starter since week five of the 2007 season has started in 28 consecutive games. Penn, 26, will have a base salary of $2.792 million in 2009, unless a long term deal can be reached. Should Penn sign an offer sheet from another team in free agency this off-season and the Bucs fail to match the offer, they would receive first and third round draft picks for not matching said offers.
Penn earlier this off-season stated he wanted a long term deal and would not be happy playing on a one year tender.
“I’m not too fond of a tender,” Penn said. “I don’t think I deserve a tender. I started two years and I thought I’ve done a good job protecting the backside of my quarterbacks for those two years. I don’t think I deserve a tender. I think I deserve a contract. I think if they do tender me and I get a chance at the free agent market next fall that I think there will be a little bit of trouble because I’ll be a hot commodity. But I’m going to let everything fall in place and hope that everything works out like it’s supposed to.”
Penn firmly believes there will be plenty of suitors for the rights to acquire his services this off-season.
“My agent and I talked about that,” Penn said. “We’re pretty confident that if they do tender me with an offer that another team would come get me. Like I said, the film doesn’t lie. The last two years, I’ve been the lowest-paid starting left tackle in the league. There are no complaints from me about that. I know I worked my way up from the bottom. I’m just going to keep working. I want to be one of the best when it’s all said and done.”
Penn is an average pass protector, but lacks aggression and the necessary strength in the running game to be more then a quality backup offensive lineman. He has allowed opposing defensive lineman to feast on his quarterbacks a total of 15 times in the 32 games he has played in. I think it is laughable at best to think a team would be willing to give up first and third rounders for a player that gets beat every other game along with being a liability in the running game.