As the 2020 NFL regular season comes to a close over the coming weeks, teams and fans alike are beginning their look to the future, including not just the postseason, but the offseason and next season as well. For the Seattle Seahawks, there will be several key starters who will be free agents, with running back being a position with multiple layers of questions to address.
Specifically, both starter Chris Carson and his primary backup, Carlos Hyde, are set to be unrestricted free agents. Behind Carson and Hyde all three of Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas and Rashaad Penny will still be on their rookie contracts for the 2021 season. Homer and Dallas have both seen playing time this season due to injuries at the position, and it seems likely that Penny will be moved from the PUP list to the active roster in the coming weeks.
How the team handles Hyde and Carson likely won’t be known for several months, however, a recent poll of Twitter users seemed to find a high level of optimism that Penny would assume the starting role during the 2021 season.
Rashaad Penny has returned to practice for the Seahawks.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) December 10, 2020
With just over a full season left on his rookie contract, Rashaad Penny has 818 career rushing yards.
Thomas Rawls finished his rookie contract with 1,531 rushing yards.
Will Penny pass Rawls by end of the 2021 season?
So, while Penny is likely to reduce the 713 yard gap between he and Thomas Rawls over the final weeks of the season, and with Carson and Hyde healthy, the number of rushing attempts Penny gets is not likely to be huge. So, it seems safe to assume that Penny will likely need more than 500 yards rushing to pass Rawls in 2021, a level that has traditionally only been reached by starting running backs for the Seahawks.
Specifically, since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010, the Seahawks have had a running back reach 500 rushing yards in a season on eleven different occasions. The only seasons in which multiple backs have reached that level were 2010 and 2018. In 2010 Justin Forsett was the team’s starter for the first five games of the season before the team traded for Marshawn Lynch, and both Lynch and Forsett reached that level. When it happened in 2018, it was third down back Mike Davis who reached 514 yards as the third down back while also starting a pair of games as Carson’s backup.
Now, it’s certainly possible that Penny could be the starting back next season, but it seems far more likely that Seattle either finds a way for Carson to be back, or for Penny to be part of a running back by committee approach. That said, for a running back who has just 818 career rushing yards through Week 14 of their fourth season in the NFL, coming up with 818 yards between now and the end of next season seems like a tall order. Thus, I’m one of those who voted no, but who would have absolutely zero issues being proven wrong if Penny is able to grab the reins as the starter for next season and produce enough to surpass the total Rawls posted during his time with the Hawks.
Will Rashaad Penny pass Thomas Rawls in rushing yards for the Seahawks before the end of the 2021 season?
This poll is closed
Not a chance