Raiders Training Camp 2017: Goodbye to Austin Howard and Taiwan Jones, and where is Donald Penn?
Oakland concluded their first day of 2017 training camp with a press conference. Here are some notes from the first day.
Quarterback Derek Carr did not want to comment on his left tackle holding out of Training Camp. Carr said he did not want to comment on another man’s pockets. He also said he wanted to concentrate on the players who were in camp.
Ultimately, Penn is holding out of training camp one-year after signing a team-friendly two-year deal with the team in 2016. Penn has been one of the most reliable starters on the Raiders offense since he came here three years ago. At age 33, Penn is just trying to get a little more compensation for the beating his body takes during the year.
Either way, the Raiders have the cap space to get a new deal done. Penn protects the blindside of Carr so the Silver and Black need him. He is also a nasty mauler which makes him a perfect fit on the Raiders offensive line. This group is among the best in the league and they need to Penn to uphold that situation.
Austin Howard and Taiwan Jones
Penn wasn’t the only Raider missing from training camp. Taiwan Jones and Austin Howard were one of the more tenured Raiders on the roster before they were cut earlier this week.
Jones was one of the last draft picks of late owner Al Davis. Howard was a marquee free agent signing in 2014. Both players were good character guys and figures in the community.
Howard battled for the starting right tackle position the last two seasons and he was supposed to do that again. Rather, the Raiders decided they wanted to save a few million in cap space by cutting the 30-year-old tackle. The timing is weird considering Penn’s contract situation. Plus, Oakland will let David Sharpe and journeyman Marshall Newhouse battle for the right tackle position. Neither has as much starting experience as Howard.
Jones was a bay area native and one of the fastest players in NFL combine history. He switched from running back to corner and back to runner during his time in Oakland. Injuries and size prevented him from really using his speed as a runner or pass catcher on offense. Otherwise, he was a solid contributor on special teams. However, he had been phased out on that team by younger players too. Jones got cut a day after his birthday.
Ultimately, Raiders are always Raiders once they wear that Silver and Black. It is sad to see some fan favorites go but this added cap space should help the Raiders get Penn a new deal.
In the end, at least a new season is officially underway thanks to the start of the 2017 NFL Training Camp.