Penn refuses to sign RFA tender
In the strongest message sent to the Bucs by Donald Penn, the team's starting left tackle let the deadline pass early Tuesday without signing the club's $3.168-million tender.
The Bucs have said they plan to exercise their option to reduce Penn's offer to 110 percent of last year's base salary, which is about $100,000 less than the original tender. The team has until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to submit their reduced tender.
Penn said he's undecided about whether to attend the team's mandatory minicamp Monday.
Penn's agent, Rocky Arceneaux, said he would issue a statement later today.
Players have until Week 10 to sign or they will not be allowed to play in the 2010 season.
Penn, who has started 44 straight games at left tackle, has not participated in voluntary off-season workouts hoping to receive a long-term contract from the Bucs. Tampa Bay gave him the highest tender as an RFA, meaning they would've received a first- and third-round pick if another team had signed Penn to an offer sheet.
The Bucs' other RFAs -- linebacker Barrett Ruud, running back Cadillac Williams and tackle Jeremy Trueblood -- signed their tenders prior to Tuesday.
General manager Mark Dominik was not available for comment. But last week, he indicated the club plans to fine Penn if he misses the mandatory minicamp or holds out of training camp.
“Obviously, I have a fondness of Donald Penn," Dominik said last week. "I pulled him from Minnesota’s practice squad and I am proud of what he has done and I respect the position that he plays as well.”
Penn is obviously a huge part of the Bucs offense and responsible for protecting the blindside of franchise quarterback Josh Freeman.
Demar Dotson, a converted basketball player, has been taking reps at left tackle with the first team this off-season.
Meanwhile, Penn has been working out twice a day in California and has lost about 35 pounds. He is unhappy the team has not been able to negotiate a long-term contract with him.