The Washington Redskins don’t have much depth at the tackle position. Thus, it’s good news that Donald Penn is reportedly open to returning to them.
Last season, the offensive tackle position was looking like a disaster for the Redskins before the season started. Trent Williams was holding out. Geron Christian was getting manhandled in practice and wasn’t showing much growth heading into his second year. And Ereck Flowers, who the team had signed to play left guard, had to serve as the starting left tackle at times during training camp because of Williams’ absence and an injury to Christian.
Once it became apparent that Williams’ holdout was legit, the Redskins decided to take action to upgrade the tackle position. They signed Donald Penn to a one-year deal to help man the left tackle position and push Flowers back inside to guard.
Penn ended up being the starting left tackle for the Redskins for almost the whole season. He played in 16 games, started 15 of them, and was solid enough for the team despite being 36 years old. He obviously wasn’t a long-term fix. But he did what he could to keep Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins clean.
With Penn hitting free agency this offseason, there was some thought that he may not return to the Redskins because of his age. But as ESPN’s Josina Anderson is reporting, Penn is open to the possibility of suiting up for Washington and doesn’t want to retire this offseason.
This is good news for the Redskins. They are currently weak at tackle, again, as Williams wants to be traded while Christian isn’t close to ready to start. And let’s not forget that Morgan Moses is coming off a down year too, so he could use some competition as well.
Penn would at least give them a stopgap option who could either start in Washington or serve as a swing tackle, depending on what the team does at the offensive tackle position in the 2020 NFL Draft. This year’s draft class is loaded at the tackle position, so the ‘Skins will almost certainly add one. But keeping Penn in addition to adding a rookie may be their best course of action, as that would at least ensure they have enough veteran depth to keep Haskins clean in his all-important second season.
There are some better tackle options than Penn available on the open market. Notably, Cordy Glenn and Kelvin Beachum, two veterans in their early 30s, could perfectly fill the need the Redskins have at left tackle. But if they want to keep continuity, Penn could garner some consideration, especially if Glenn or Beachum is looking for more money.
It will be worth watching what the Redskins do at offensive tackle. They only really have Christian, Moses, and a couple of unproven players (Timon Parris and Paul Adams) rounding out the position if you exclude Williams. They should add another veteran player at the position this offseason. Whether that’s Penn, Glenn, Beachum, or someone else, expect the ‘Skins to check out some tackles soon.