According to a report on NFL.com from Jason La Canfora the Buccaneers will be putting the highest possible tender on Bucs left tackle Donald Penn. With under six years of experience Penn is a restricted free agent due to the expiration of the Collective Bargainning Agreement. Tampa Bay would receive compensation in the form of draft picks if Penn were to sign with another team. La Canfora writes:
The Buccaneers intend to put the high restricted free-agent tender on LT Donald Penn, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The team worked on a new long-term deal for Penn during the preseason, but that came off the table largely because of an inability to agree on upfront money.
The highest tender would cause the Bucs to receive a first- and third-round pick for Penn from whatever team signed him. Other notable restricted free agents for Tampa Bay that are expected to receive tenders are: linebacker Barrett Ruud, running back Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams, right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, and wide receiver Maurice Stovall.
Source: NFL.com - Jason La Canfora
PewterReport.com's Take: This move comes as no surprise. Tampa Bay does not want to lose its starting left tackle without getting a huge amount of compensation. Penn won't be happy playing under a one-year tender. Sources have told Pewter Report that the Bucs could have signed Penn long-term last spring for about $5 million per year. That is significantly less than what Penn is looking for now. While Penn struggled with his weight during the 2009 season, he was still productive and has done a good job protecting the quarterback. Penn has started 44 straight games since breaking into the lineup in 2007. He is one of the biggest bargains in the NFL.
UPDATE: Penn's camp said they won't react until they hear from the Buccaneers about the status of the tender. On Wednesday afternoon they had not heard from the Bucs organization. Penn is still seeking a long-term contract with Tampa Bay.