Rashaad Penny

Seahawks Expected To Activate RB Rashaad Penny

Rashaad Penny is on track to make his season debut tomorrow against Washington. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports (via Twitter) that the Seahawks will activate the running back off the PUP list.

Penny, the 27th-overall pick in the 2018 draft, was unable to supplant Chris Carson as the starter during his first two seasons in the NFL, but he still put up solid numbers as a backup. In 24 games, Penny has 150 carries for 789 yards (5.3 yards per attempt) and five touchdowns. He’s also added 17 receptions for 158 yards and one score.

However, Penny suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season, and the 24-year-old landed on the reserve/PUP list to start the 2020 campaign. He started practicing last week, and despite Pete Carroll initially insisting that they wouldn’t rush Penny’s return, the running back quickly drew high praise from the head coach.

“He’s really in good shape. I don’t know what that means for next week, but he looked as healthy as anybody out there,” Carroll said (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson). “So we’ll take it one shot at a time here, but very, very positive initial return and I know he’s really jacked about it.”

While the Seahawks found themselves with a depleted running back corps down the stretch of last season, they now find themselves with a full depth chart. Carson and Carlos Hyde are both healthy, and the team is also rostering fourth-round rookie DeeJay Dallas. Penny will once again have to battle for carries, but the Seahawks will surely give him a look prior to the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Whitworth, Garoppolo

Cardinals NT Corey Peters is out for the season due to a torn patellar tendon, and as he is in the final year of his contract with Arizona, it’s possible he has already played his last game with the team. But if he has it his way, that won’t be the case.

The 32-year-old said that he would love to spend the rest of his career with the Cardinals, as Mason Kern of SI.com writes, and assuming the price is right, it would make sense for GM Steve Keim to keep him. Peters was named Arizona’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award yesterday, and he has been a team captain for three years running. In addition to his stout defense against the run, he is a highly-respected spiritual and emotional leader, so look for the two sides to discuss a reunion this offseason.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says he feels much better after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month, though he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN.com). Fitz also says he lost nine pounds during his bout with the coronavirus, but he did come off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and as Darren Urban of the team’s official website tweets, the 37-year-old will suit up against the Giants this weekend.
  • After sinking 88.6% of his field goal tries in 2019, Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has converted just 72.7% of his attempts this year, prompting some to wonder if the team will seek another option. But Keim will keep rolling with Gonzalez, saying, “I know people question Zane but Zane has a lot of talent. … I think Zane will work through the tough times” (Twitter link via Urban). Gonzalez is playing out the season on his RFA tender, and this is not how he wanted to enter his first offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Rams suddenly find themselves atop the NFC West, and they could be getting their left tackle back soon. Andrew Whitworth has been on the shelf since the middle of November with a torn MCL and PCL, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the veteran OT, who turns 39 tomorrow, will test out the knee next week. Whitworth is apparently way ahead of schedule and could return by the end of the regular season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo‘s future with the 49ers is in some doubt, even though HC Kyle Shanahan recently said he expects the dashing signal-caller to be the team’s starter in 2021. That may well be the case, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes San Francisco will select a QB in next year’s draft, perhaps as high as the second round. There could be a few intriguing prospects available at that point that Shanahan may be able to turn into a viable starter at the professional level. Players like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Alabama’s Mac Jones could both be options.
  • It has now been over a year since Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny last suited up for a game, but as John Boyle of the team’s official website notes, Penny returned to practice this week. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’s excited about what he has seen from Penny in practice (Twitter link via 710 ESPN Seattle), and the ‘Hawks could certainly use a boost to an RB corps that has dealt with a number of injuries this season. Per Boyle, CB Quinton Dunbar, who has been on IR for a few weeks with a knee injury, has also returned to practice.
  • The Seahawks signed QB Alex McGough to their practice squad yesterday, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the team has put its other PS signal-caller, Danny Etling, in a bubble. The Broncos, of course, recently had to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at QB because the rest of their quarterbacks were deemed high-risk close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive. The Seahawks are keeping Etling in a bubble to guard against just such a situation.

Rashaad Penny To Practice Next Week

Despite on-brand injury optimism from Pete Carroll in September, Rashaad Penny was not able to return by midseason. But a more concrete Penny status update emerged Friday.

The third-year running back will “for sure” return to practice next week, Carroll said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter). Stashed on the PUP list, Penny has not played since suffering an ACL tear last December. And the Seahawks have seen injury issues crop up at running back this season.

Both Chris Carson and 2020 Penny stand-in Carlos Hyde have missed time due to injuries this season, leading to Seattle relying more on Russell Wilson earlier in the year. The team still ranks 24th in rushing attempts (but 11th in yardage) entering Week 13. With Penny and Chris Carson handling ball-carrying duties last season, the Seahawks logged the third-most rushing attempts and ranked fourth on the ground. Penny boasted a team-high 5.7 yards per carry, gaining 370 yards on the ground last season, but the former first-round pick has played behind Carson throughout his career.

The Seahawks will need to decide on Penny’s fifth-year option by May. Although Carson’s contract expires at season’s end, it may still be a stretch for Seattle to pick up Penny’s option — since the 2018 first-round class will have their options fully guaranteed. Previous Round 1 picks’ options were guaranteed for injury only. Penny, 24, does have a career 5.3 yards-per-carry average and low mileage (150 carries). A late-season return would help the San Diego State alum get his career back on track.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Adams, 49ers, Godwin, Penny

George Kittle played through an injury last season, earning Pro Bowl honors despite dealing with a labrum tear. Just prior to Sunday’s Jets game, the 49ers tight end — who suffered an MCL sprain in Week 1 — was believed to be on track to return in Week 3, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. But considering the injury issues the 49ers had on the MetLife Stadium turf, which caused gripes from several San Francisco players, this might not still be the case. Kyle Shanahan said he will take the field conditions — when the 49ers return to MetLife to play the Giants — into account when determining Kittle’s Week 3 availability, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFC, including news on a few more Pro Bowlers’ respective Week 3 statuses:

  • The 49ers will be down to just three first-round defensive linemen against the Giants. After losing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season, the 49ers ruled out Dee Ford for a second straight week. Ford, who has suffered a litany of maladies since being traded to San Francisco, has no return timetable, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The seventh-year defensive end is currently down with a neck injury, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes this has morphed into a back problem (subscription required). Ziggy Ansah serves as the third ex-first-rounder, having signed with the 49ers this week.
  • The Packers appear to have ruled out a long-term absence for top wideout Davante Adams. The standout receiver’s hamstring injury is considered minor, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Adams is not a lock to face the Saints in Week 3, however. Matt LaFleur halted Adams from returning to action Sunday and may play the long game with Aaron Rodgers‘ top weapon.
  • Good news for the Buccaneers. Chris Godwin figures to be back in uniform Sunday against the Broncos. The Pro Bowl wide receiver cleared the team’s concussion protocol early this week.
  • Pete Carroll indicated Rashaad Penny is ahead of schedule in his ACL rehab, via Brandon Gustafson of 710 AM ESPN Radio Seattle, predicting the third-year running back may well beat a perceived midseason return window. The longtime Seahawks coach, however, generally leans toward optimism regarding his players’ recoveries. That should probably be factored into this assessment. Penny resides on Seattle’s PUP list and cannot make his 2020 debut until at least Week 7. With Chris Carson in a contract year and Carlos Hyde on a one-year deal, how Penny performs in his return from injury figures to be pivotal for the Seahawks’ long-term running back plan.
  • Down Tevin Coleman and likely to be without Raheem Mostert in Week 3, the 49ers brought in three running backs for a Tuesday workout. Paul Perkins, Karan Higdon and Austin Walter are auditioning for the 49ers, Pelissero notes (on Twitter). Perkins was a former Giants fifth-round pick but has not eclipsed 100 rushing yards in a season since 2016.

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.