Heaps: Seahawks should ‘work hard’ to bring back Rashaad Penny as lead RB

Jan 4, 2022, 1:28 PM
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny...
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny stiff arms Tracy Walker III of the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lumen Field. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Over the last four weeks of the NFL season, Rashaad Penny of the Seattle Seahawks has been the best running back in the entire NFL.

Yes, you read that right.

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Penny, Seattle’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft whose career has been slowed by injuries, has been on an absolute tear of late, rushing for 481 yards in that four-week span. That’s 95 more rushing yards than the next closest player in the league.

During these last four games for the Seahawks, Penny has five rushing touchdowns and has rushed for over 130 yards three times, including a career-high 170 yards on 25 carries (6.8 yards per carry) and two scores during Sunday’s 51-29 blowout win over the Detroit Lions.

Penny has always been talented, as evidenced by his career 5.1 yards per carry prior to the 2021 season, but he has struggled mightily to stay healthy since entering the league in 2018, playing in just 36 of a possible 64 games during that span. But since becoming Seattle’s lead back last month, Penny is playing like an offensive cornerstone.

While that’s been great news for Penny and the Seahawks, the surge in play comes at a particularly interesting time as the young running back is set to hit free agency this offseason as Seattle opted not to pick up his fifth-year option prior to the start of this season. Unless the Seahawks can sign Penny during the franchise’s exclusive negotiating rights window before he hits the open market, Penny may be one of the more intriguing names in free agency due to his huge offensive upside.

When it comes to the running back position, the Seahawks have three backs under contract for 2022 in four-year starter Chris Carson, 2019 draft pick Travis Homer and 2020 pick DeeJay Dallas. But neither Dallas nor Homer have produced enough when given opportunities on offense to show they can be a true lead back while Carson, like Penny, has dealt with a number of injuries since entering the NFL in 2017. Carson re-signed with the Seahawks this past offseason on a two-year deal but played in just four games before his season ended due to a neck injury.

When it comes to that position group for the Seahawks next season, former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps has made his pick for who will lead that room in Seattle.

“I’m going to go bold and I’m going to say yes, Rashaad Penny is going to be the lead back for the Seattle Seahawks next season,” Heaps said during Monday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

With the Seahawks having kept Penny around despite all of the struggles he’s endured during his career up to this point, Heaps has a hard time seeing the franchise parting ways with its 2018 first-round draft pick.

“I don’t know how you walk away from Rashaad Penny’s production at the end of the year and for this organization to not try to believe in him and try to get him back on a one-year or maximum two-year deal with heavy, heavy incentives,” Heaps said. “But I do believe that Rashaad Penny is going to be the lead back for the Seahawks next season and they’re going to work hard to try and make that happen.”

Listen to the second hour of Monday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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