Former Raider Donald Penn could fill in at right tackle for the Broncos in 2020.
The news that Ja’Wuan James plans to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season has left Broncos Country with mixed emotions. However, the decision has been made, and now the team must look elsewhere to fill their option at right tackle.
The news that Elijah Wilkinson and Netane Muti have been activated to the active roster is encouraging, but it would be wise for the team to look at the free agent market for a veteran right tackle. One possible avenue the Broncos could take would be to look at former Raiders standout Donald Penn.
After being cut by the Raiders in 2019 in favor of the much younger Kolton Miller, he was signed on a one year deal by the Washington Football Team, and they chose to not bring him back for the 2020 season, though a reunion is still possible.
There is one factor to Donald Penn that could cause the Denver Broncos to shy away a bit – his age. Penn turned 37 in April. While it is no secret that the Broncos have been looking to build a younger locker room, the Broncos should consider taking a flyer on him.
Penn suffered a groin injury in his last season with the Raiders, which was probably a partial reason for his release, but stayed healthy and started in 15 games for the Washington Football Team in 2019, and performed well enough. Keep in mind that Penn was a strong point to the Raiders’ 2016 offensive line, which was arguably the best in football at the time.
Penn was a strong point on that talented offensive line up until the point of his injury and eventual release.
Broncos Country may feel a sense of PTSD after the addition of Menelik Watson from the same unit went so poorly, but it’s important to keep in mind that Watson was the weaker point on that Raider offensive line from the get-go.
While Penn’s best days are probably behind him, he is not looking to retire just yet, and even a fraction of his talent could be used by the Denver Broncos right now.
This would by no means be a long-term solution at right tackle. In fact, if the Broncos were to sign Penn, it would likely be a one-year rental, and would still give Elijah Wilkinson an opportunity to compete for the starting position, and wait to see what will happen with Ja’Wuan James in 2021.
If Penn were to be signed, there is a good chance that reps would be split between him and Wilkinson, to give Wilkinson more repetition and experience.
Especially considering that Elijah Wilkinson is not 100% healthy, the Denver Broncos should be looking at the market, and with a guy who has been as good as Donald Penn still being available, there is no reason for the Broncos to not take a chance on him.