The same can be said for Oakland's left tackle, Donald Penn, who surprised some of the football world by signing a two-year deal to remain with the team that helped revive his career. The signing now gives the Raiders a lineup of Penn, Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Austin Howard, which would be among the three best groups in football on paper. Osemele, who was the Raiders' crown jewel in free agency, can now stay at his preferred position of guard instead of bumping out to left tackle.
"We've got things rolling now," Penn said Thursday, via The Mercury News. "We're on the up and up. I'm glad I'm going to be a part of it. We're building something real nice right now and everything's going the right way now and it feels good. I can't wait to get back to work."
The Raiders might be past the building stage, however. With Derek Carr entering his third season, the stage has to be set for a playoffs-or-bust kind of attitude. Credit goes to general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was able to balance working on the hot seat with the idea of this future club in mind. They now have franchise players at quarterback (Carr), receiver (Amari Cooper) and pass rusher (Khalil Mack). They were good enough to lure two of the best available free agents under 30 to play in Oakland.
Now, things get really interesting.
For Penn, his decision was telling. At 32, he was part of just one playoff team in Tampa Bay and slogged through 10 wins in two seasons out in California. He had the option to play for a more promising win-now situation, but thought the Raiders were his best bet.