Rashaad Penny

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, 49ers, Mostert

After signing a one-year, $2.75MM deal with the Seahawks last month, veteran running back Carlos Hyde is expected to see most of his action on early-down plays, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Incumbent starter Chris Carson isn’t expected to lose any work to Hyde that he wouldn’t have to Rashaad Penny (who is likely to begin the regular season on the physically unable to perform list), meaning that Carson should still see the bulk of the carries in Seattle. While Carson has posted only 57 receptions over the past two seasons, Henderson notes that’s more a function of the Seahawks’ run-based offense than a comment on Carson’s ability as a three-down back. Hyde, meanwhile, has $500K worth of per-game roster bonuses in his contract, which Henderson adds is a favorite technique of Seattle’s front office. If Hyde doesn’t play well enough to be active for most games, the Seahawks could recoup a small bit of cash.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • While George Kittle is believed to be next in line for a 49ers extension, running back Raheem Mostert could land a new deal before the star tight end, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. On one hand, Mostert is certainly underpaid. He signed a three-year extension last spring with an annual value of less than $3MM. Mostert was largely a special teams player at the time, but after posting 772 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, he’s worth more. On the other hand, San Francisco controls Mostert’s rights through the 2021 campaign, he’s already 28 years old, and running back’s shelf lives are notoriously short.
  • Trent Williams played alongside a bevy of average-or-worse quarterbacks during his time with the Redskins, but the veteran left tackle believes he’s stepping into an excellent signal-caller situation with the 49ers“I think Jimmy [Garoppolo] is awesome,” Williams told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “I think he has proven that he’s a quarterback that you can win with…From being in my position, not having a lot of success in the league, having a good quarterback then to having a kind of musical chairs back there, I know the importance of it. So I’m extremely happy just to be part of an offense that really don’t need me to win. I add to it.” San Francisco, which acquired Williams in exchange for third- and fifth-round picks, hasn’t worked out an extension with the 31-year-old, but reportedly has agreed to give him more money upfront.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams were one of several teams to gain additional cap space earlier this week thanks to the NFL’s post-June 1 release system.

Seahawks Sign RB Carlos Hyde

The Seahawks are moving fast. Shortly after a report surfaced of a final offer going out to Devonta Freeman, the Seahawks will pivot to Carlos Hyde. The six-year veteran agreed to terms with the team on Friday, and the deal became official on Thursday afternoon, per a club announcement.

With Rashaad Penny‘s status uncertain, the Seahawks moved aggressively to bring in a veteran this week. They offered Freeman a deal that would have paid him $3MM in base value, with another $1MM available via incentives, but the longtime Falcons starter didn’t bite. Instead, Hyde will soon head west on a deal that will pay him up to $4MM, per Rapoport (on Twitter). It is not yet certain if the base value for Hyde — who also surfaced as a Seahawks target this week — will equal what Seattle offered Freeman.

Hyde is coming off his first 1,000-yard season. Since his 49ers exit, though, the former second-round pick has not enjoyed much stability. Hyde signed with the Browns in free agency in 2018, but the team traded him to the Jaguars. Jacksonville cut bait after the ’18 season, leading Hyde to the Chiefs. Kansas City then traded him to Houston, where he became the Texans’ primary ground-game option.

Despite a low-end contract, Hyde reeled off 1,070 yards (4.4 per carry) and six touchdowns. While Hyde has just one 1,000-yard season, he compiled back-to-back 900-plus-yard campaigns with the 2016 and ’17 49ers. Hyde turned down a Texans offer earlier this year.

The Seahawks still appear intent on keeping Chris Carson as their primary back, despite the fumbling troubles that plagued him last season, and invested a first-round pick in Penny two years ago. But they now have some insurance in Hyde, who will turn 30 in September. Such insurance may be necessary. Penny starting the season on the PUP list is a concern, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets.

Hyde’s decision may drive the Eagles — who were also interested in Hyde — to ramp up talks with Freeman. Both the Jets and Eagles are believed to be in the mix for Freeman.

Another piece of fallout from this deal could mean Marshawn Lynch returns to retirement. Earlier this month, Seahawks GM John Schneider said another deal with Lynch remained possible. Seattle re-signed Lynch after both Carson and Penny went down late last season. The popular Seahawk played in the team’s regular-season finale and both playoff games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Devonta Freeman Discussing Deal

The Seahawks are showing interest in one of the NFL’s best remaining free agents. They’ve made an offer to running back Devonta Freeman, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM reports (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). However, they’re not aligned on dollars, and the Seahawks are holding their ground for now. Seattle is offering a one-year deal with a base value of less than $3MM and a maximum value of up to $4MM, tweets Mike Silver of NFL.com.

[RELATED: The Top Remaining Free Agents In The NFL]

The Seahawks’ interest in Freeman is partially due to Rashaad Penny‘s knee injury. Penny is unlikely to be available for the start of training camp and Caplan hears that his Week 1 availability is in question. Beyond Penny, the Seahawks also have Chris CarsonTravis Homer, and fourth-round pick Deejay Dallas on the depth chart.

Seattle believes Carson will be good to go this year and feels big things are in store for Homer after he averaged 6.3 yards per carry as a rookie. Still, they could use more help at RB and Homer’s impressive showing came in a limited sample size of totes.

Freeman, 28, appeared in 14 games for the Falcons in 2019 but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry on 184 attempts. Advanced metrics weren’t any more complimentary of Freeman’s performance, as Football Outsiders ranked him just 41st among 43 running backs in success rate.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have also discussed a reunion with Marshawn Lynch. There’s likely only room for one of the two vets in Seattle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Watson, Penny, 49ers

Current Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, who enjoyed a strong run as the Cardinals‘ HC from 2013-17, nearly brought one of the league’s best quarterbacks to the desert prior to his final year in Arizona. Deshaun Watson was selected by the Texans with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and the Cardinals held the No. 13 overall pick that year. As Patrick D. Starr of SI.com writes, Arians was poised to nab Watson if he slipped one more spot.

It’s unclear whether the Cardinals tried to trade up to select Watson, but they ultimately took linebacker Haason Reddick with their choice. Of course, Arizona seems to have found its QB of the future in Kyler Murray. and who knows how things may have turned out if Watson ended up with the Cards, but it’s always fun to play the butterfly effect game when reports like this surface.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny is undergoing ACL surgery Friday morning, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. We recently heard that, in addition to an ACL tear, Penny may have sustained additional knee damage, but Schefter says the 2018 first-rounder is expected to be ready to go for the 2020 season.
  • The 49ers have sustained a number of injuries lately, but they will have CB Richard Sherman back this week. Though recent reports indicated that Sherman may not be back until the playoffs, Matt Barrows of The Athletic says the three-time First Team All-Pro will play in San Francisco’s matchup against the Rams on Saturday night (Twitter link). The Niners, of course, are trying to get back into one of the NFC’s top two seeds after a bad loss to the Falcons on Sunday dropped them to the fifth seed.
  • Speaking of Sherman, Field Yates of ESPN.com points out that the 31-year-old earned a league-high $1MM incentive by being named to this year’s Pro Bowl on the original ballot, and he also increased his 2020 base salary by $1MM (Twitter link). Sherman is currently under contract with the 49ers through the 2020 season.
  • 49ers LB Kwon Alexander, who was ruled out for the season in November with a torn pec, does have a chance to return at some point in the postseason, as Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan conceded that the odds of that happening are slim, and it seems much more likely that the team will have to wait until next year to see Alexander back in action.

Seahawks Activate Ethan Pocic From IR

The Seahawks are getting a boost as they gear up for their playoff push. The team is activating offensive lineman Ethan Pocic off injured reserve, they announced in a release.

To make room for him on the roster they officially placed running Rashaad Penny, who tore an ACL last week, on injured reserve. Pocic was placed on injured reserve after Week 6, and is now returning when first eligible after missing the requisite eight games. He had been dealing with a back issue. Pocic started the team’s opener at left guard and played 100 percent of the snaps, but injuries have limited him to just two games in his third season as a pro.

Seattle drafted him in the second round back in 2017, and he started 11 games as a rookie while appearing in all 16. An LSU product, injuries limited him to only ten appearances last year with four starts. Pocic has played all along the offensive line during his college and pro days, so he brings some valuable versatility to the unit. Normal starting center Justin Britt is on injured reserve with an ACL tear of his own, and Joey Hunt has been filling in. Now that Pocic is back, he could push Hunt for that gig soon. Either way, he’ll be a nice depth piece for the stretch run.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Cards, Mahomes, Jacobs, 49ers

David Johnson‘s usage this season has irked numerous fantasy owners, along with Johnson himself. The fifth-year running back has stayed off the Cardinals‘ injury report for weeks but has taken a backseat to trade acquisition Kenyan Drake. This pattern (and explanation for it) has not sat well with Johnson, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The $13MM-AAV back declined to address his future with the team but was not satisfied with the reason Arizona’s coaching staff gave him for his significant workload reduction (Twitter links).

Ankle and back maladies sidelined Johnson earlier in the year, but he’s been active for four straight games, seeing 12 total carries in that span. Although Johnson’s 366 receiving yards still have him on pace to eclipse his 2018 total, he is averaging less than four yards per carry for a second straight season. The three-year, $39MM deal Johnson signed in 2018 runs through 2021. The soon-to-be 28-year-old back’s $10.2MM 2020 base salary is fully guaranteed.

Let’s take a look at the latest from several other teams in the West divisions, starting with the status of the Chiefs’ most important player.

  • The bruised throwing hand Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered did not turn out to be a significant issue. Mahomes, who said Sunday night his hand “didn’t feel great,” returned to full practice Wednesday. The reigning MVP said (via ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher) Wednesday was the first day he could grip the football, but he’s expected to suit up against the Broncos. Mahomes has battled a sprained ankle and a dislocated kneecap but has missed just two games.
  • An MRI Josh Jacobs underwent produced good news for the Raiders running back. The offensive rookie of the year candidate is expected to play against the Jaguars on Sunday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Jon Gruden, however, did not commit to the first-round pick playing in Week 15. Jacobs missed Week 14 with a shoulder malady he’s been battling, giving way to free agent-to-be DeAndre Washington.
  • Extensions for cornerstone 49ers DeForest Buckner and George Kittle will take precedence over retaining contract-year breakout defender Arik Armstead, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Armstead has been dominant in his fifth season, leading the 49ers with 10 sacks, but was inconsistent in his prior four seasons. With Armstead playing more at defensive end than D-tackle, it would cost them nearly $18MM to use the franchise tag. The 49ers tabled Buckner extension talks until 2020 and can begin negotiating with Kittle in January. The team is projected to hold $24MM in cap space — 25th-most in the league.
  • In addition to the ACL tear Rashaad Penny suffered in Week 14, Pete Carroll noted the second-year running back may have sustained more damage in his injured knee, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. The Seahawks running back’s upcoming surgery will provide more clarity on his timetable.

Rashaad Penny Done For Season

Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny will miss the remainder of the season, according to Seattle head coach Pete Carroll (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com). Penny injured his ACL during the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams Sunday night, and while Carroll has not yet been made aware of Penny’s MRI results, the team doctors could tell it was a significant injury.

It’s a difficult blow for Penny, who was finally starting to get the touches he probably expected when the Seahawks selected him in the first round of the 2018 draft. After getting just 85 carries in his rookie season and 36 through the first ten weeks of the 2019 season — though he did miss three games this year with a hamstring injury — Penny got 14 totes for 129 yards and a score against the Eagles in Week 12 and 15 rushes for 79 yards in Week 13. Seattle won both games.

As Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes, the Seahawks were planning on a timeshare at running back between Penny and Chris Carson. That was shaping up as a pretty formidable 1-2 punch, but now the team will need to rely more heavily on Carson, just as it did earlier in the season.

It sounds as if C.J. Prosise will move up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, while rookie Travis Homer may also get some looks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Deadline Fallout: Penny, Rams, Adams

Since using a first-round pick on Rashaad Penny last year, the Seahawks have not given him a lead backfield role. They preferred Chris Carson and Mike Davis leading the ball-carrying group last season and have Carson entrenched atop the depth chart this year. As such, the Lions expressed interest in Penny prior to Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline, John Clayton of ESPN 710 AM Seattle notes. Seattle sought a second-round pick for Penny, though it doesn’t sound like the team was shopping the second-year back. Penny can be under Seahawks control through 2022. The Lions have run into trouble in their backfield, losing starter Kerryon Johnson. They were interested in Kenyan Drake, but the Cardinals ended up making a deal with the Dolphins. Ty Johnson, Tra Carson and ex-Seahawk J.D. McKissic represent the Lions’ primary running back options for the stretch run.

Here is the latest deadline fallout:

  • The Dolphins will send the Rams a 2022 seventh-round pick for Aqib Talib, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. With Talib on IR until at least Week 15, the rebuilding team is likely only interested in the fifth-round 2020 choice it acquired. The 33-year-old cornerback looks headed toward free agency for the first time since 2014.
  • As for the Rams, they want to use some of the savings from this move to re-sign emerging linebacker Cory Littleton, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Littleton is one of a few key Rams on expiring contracts, joining Michael Brockers and Dante Fowler in that group. Playing on a second-round RFA tender, Littleton has operated as Los Angeles’ top linebacker this year and would stand to attract considerable interest as a 2020 UFA. With a high-end Jalen Ramsey re-up coming, the Rams will be tight on cap space, however, and may have to bid farewell to a few role players — like they did this offseason.
  • Chris Harris has stuck to his guns about testing free agency this time around. He signed a five-year, $42.5MM extension with the Broncos in late 2014, and that deal became one of the most team-friendly pacts in the league in the latter part of the 2010s. The 30-year-old cornerback does not plan to sign a Broncos extension before reaching the market, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. However, Harris has said he wants to finish his career in Denver. He and the Broncos were not close on terms this offseason, but Renck added a that third Broncos contract could be in play for the four-time Pro Bowler.
  • The Day 3 pick the Cowboys offered the Jets, in addition to the first-round pick included in the proposal, for Jamal Adams was either a fourth- or fifth-rounder, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Jets wanted a first and a pair of seconds for the Pro Bowl safety, one GM Joe Douglas still calls firmly part of the team’s long-term plan, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.

Trade Rumors: Hopkins, Slay, Hooper

The trade deadline is two days away, so there are plenty of rumors to pass along. Of course, many of those rumors center around this year’s non-contenders, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that two such teams — the Redskins and Bengals — continue to rebuff inquiries concerning veterans who should be available. Rival GMs have grown increasingly frustrated with Washington and Cincinnati, and La Canfora says opposing clubs have become resigned to the fact that they are not going to be able to swing a deal with those obstinate franchises. That means that a number of big names — Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, A.J. Green, and Carlos Dunlap, to name a few — are looking more and more likely to stay put.

Now for more trade rumors from around the league, starting with another nugget out of Cincinnati:

  • Michael Lombardi of The Athletic agrees that the Bengals are likely to stand pat at the deadline for the most part, but he does believe the club will move tight end Tyler Eifert.
  • Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is decidedly not on the trading block, but teams have still called Houston to ask about the star wideout, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets. That obviously sounds like clubs doing their due diligence more than anything else, and Glazer acknowledges that it would take an awful lot for the Texans to move Hopkins.
  • The Lions have received calls on CB Darius Slay, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It would take a big offer to pry Slay from Detroit, but in the wake of Slay’s comments earlier this week, maybe the Lions will be more inclined to move him.
  • RB-needy teams have called the Seahawks to inquire on Rashaad Penny, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports (video link). Penny is not on the block, per se, but the 2018 first-rounder is drawing interest. In the same video, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says Chargers RB Melvin Gordon could also be on the move.
  • Schefter reports that the 49ers have received calls on backup QB C.J. Beathard, whom Schefter suggests could be on the move.
  • The Falcons have fielded calls on DT Tyeler Davison, per Lombardi, but Atlanta has told other teams Davison will not be moved. The team is also going to hang on to TE Austin Hooper, as Schefter tweets.
  • The Giants are likely to cut Nate Solder after the season, so Lombardi believes Big Blue should go ahead and trade him now (though HC Pat Shurmur, whose job could be in jeopardy, would likely resist such a move). The Browns continue to be in the market for OT help, as Schefter writes, and the Patriots may also be interested in a reunion with Solder. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says Solder was not a viable option for Cleveland as of the middle of last week, but that could change in the next couple of days.
  • Janoris Jenkins is another member of the Giants who could be on the move, and while he is likely open to joining a contender, he just wants New York to be transparent with their plans for him, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes. That sentiment was also expressed by former Giants like Landon Collins and Odell Beckham Jr., who both felt as though Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman were not straightforward with them. Dunleavy names the Chiefs as a potential landing spot for Jenkins.
  • Interest remains heavy on Broncos vets Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe, as La Canfora writes. Denver is open to moving Harris and Wolfe, and rival GMs expect the Broncos to make those trades happen.

West Notes: Seahawks, Broncos, Breida

Although the Seahawks traded Frank Clark, have L.J. Collier sidelined for a while and Ziggy Ansah still yet to fully participate in training camp, they feature an additional pass rusher in Barkevious Mingo. The former first-round pick is now a full-time defensive end, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. The 28-year-old defender worked as an outside linebacker in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme last season but came into the league as a 3-4 edge. That has never translated to sack production (10 in six seasons), but it looks like the Seahawks will attempt to see if Mingo’s first NFL work as a full-time lineman can.

That’s what I came into this league to do,’’ said Mingo, who played 545 snaps last season with Seattle. “I came into this league to rush the passer. And teams I’ve been on before, they’ve had a different idea of what they wanted me to do. And that’s OK. … But looking back at it, I’m happy I get to go back and do it (rush the passer now). I wish it would have been a little earlier in my career. But still, I’m just excited for the opportunity to go out there and just help the team.”

Moving first to some backfield situations, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Mountain and Pacific Time Zone teams.

  • While Pete Carroll said 2018 first-rounder Rashaad Penny had a “great” offseason, the Seahawks still appear to be leaning toward keeping 2017 seventh-rounder Chris Carson as their starting running back. Penny is not playing on the same level Carson is during camp, per The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar (subscription required). Penny, though, will be a bigger part of Seattle’s offense than he was as a rookie. Mike Davis‘ Chicago relocation will ensure the San Diego State alum sees more time.
  • Theo Riddick visited the Broncos and Saints before deciding on Denver, but the six-year Lions back said (via Mike Klis of 9News) 10 teams reached out after Detroit released him. Riddick, 28, signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to join Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in the Broncos’ backfield equation. The longtime pass-catching back took reps with the Broncos’ first-string offense in his initial practice with the team.
  • As for where that leaves Devontae Booker: Klis notes there is a chance the team keeps four halfbacks and fullback Andy Janovich. However, Booker may now be a trade candidate. The Broncos used former California high school sprint champion Khalfani Muhammad in all four quarters of Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game.
  • Matt Breida may join Booker on the trade block, though that is not certain yet. The 49ers have one of the NFL’s deepest backfields, with Breida joining Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. It’s been posited the 49ers will not have room for all three on game days, considering Raheem Mostert was re-signed for his special teams ability. A way Breida (5.3 yards per carry last season) could see time will be as a kick returner, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Breida has only returned five NFL kicks, all coming in his 2017 rookie year.
  • Seahawks recently waived tight ends Justin Johnson and Tyrone Swoopes cleared waivers and will revert to the team’s IR list, Condotta tweets.