Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donald Penn is hard at work trying to get in better shape for the 2010 season according to a report on NFL.com. Penn gained a lot of weight during the 2009 season, and displeased the Bucs organization with his lack of conditioning. Penn currently is a restricted free agent, and would like a long-term contract with Tampa Bay.
Penn, whose first- and third-round tender essentially prevents him from receiving an offer sheet by Thursday's deadline, hasn't been able to land a long-term deal with the Bucs. Should that not change quickly, there's a strong possibility Penn could demand a trade before next week's NFL draft and inform the Bucs he will not sign his restricted free agent tender until the preseason, a league source said Wednesday.
Penn's weight ballooned to around 370 pounds at the end of last season, but he has altered his diet and revamped his lifestyle and is down to about 335 pounds. He's working with a nutritionalist, and his meals come from a company that specializes in healthy content. Penn also is working with a sports psychologist, Dr. Michael Zervais, and a personal trainer.
Source: Jason La Canfora - NFL.com
PewterReport.com's Take: Penn's desire for a long-term deal has been made clear for a long time. The Buccaneers have had one of the biggest bargains in the NFL with Penn. Left tackles of his caliber are highly paid. Penn stands to make over $3 million this year. The Bucs could have signed Penn to deal averaging about $5 million a year prior to last season, but after another solid season Penn's price is in line with what Philadelphia gave Jason Peters- a $10 million per year contract. Penn has started 44 straight games and has done a good job of protecting the quarterback.
The Bucs have been not been inclined to sign Penn because of his lack of conditioning, and the size of the contract. Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said at the owners meetings that the reason the team has not spent a lot of money is because they haven't had good players come up for lucrative contract extensions. Penn fits that criteria, but still remains unsigned. Trading away a proven quality left tackle is a risky proposition, and not a good away to ensure success for young franchise quarterback Josh Freeman.