Terrible offensive line play seems to be the norm — not the exception — around the NFL these days. The state of offensive line play league-wide is so poor that it’s being called an epidemic.
The Raiders are not part of the growing list of teams with poor pass protection and scarcely created running lanes — in fact, the Raiders might have the best offensive line in the AFC.
And they plan on keeping it that way.
Friday, the Raiders and Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn announced the parties agreed to a two-year contract extension worth a reported $21 million.
It’s not a small chunk of change, but it was a necessary deal for the Raiders to make.
The Raiders’ front office figured out well before the rest of the league that good offensive line play is a cheat code. It makes your quarterback significantly better, your running backs significantly better — it makes your offense, as a whole, significantly better.
It also costs money. Paying big bucks for big-time players is an excellent vaccine for the epidemic sweeping the league.
The Raiders spend more on offensive linemen than any other team in football. The middle of that offensive line — left guard Kelechi Osemele, center Rodney Hudson, and right guard Gabe Jackson — take up nearly 20 percent of the salary cap.
But it’s undoubtedly worth it.
And Penn, as quarterback Derek Carr’s blindside protector, is just as important (if not more so) than that superb interior trio.
Forget what Marshall…
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