Buccaneers Predicted to Land Former $5.7 Million Playmaker

Todd Bowles

Getty The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look different in 2023.

Rashaad Penny’s complicated tenure with the Seattle Seahawks appears to be heading towards a conclusion with the running back set to hit free agency in the coming days. Given the emergence of Ken Walker III combined with Penny’s unfortunate injury history, smart money is on Penny signing elsewhere.

CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin put together his best free agent fits for every NFC team and has Penny signing with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay makes sense as a potential landing spot for Penny given the team just hired former Seahawks assistant Dave Canales to be the team’s offensive coordinator, and the Bucs are slated to release star running back Leonard Fournette.

“Tampa has … a lot of needs right now. There’s left tackle, after the team cut Donovan Smith,” Dubin wrote on March 9, 2023. “There’s cornerback, with both Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting hitting free agency. There’s defensive line, with Akiem Hicks, Carl Nassib, William Gholston, and more hitting the market. There’s safety, with Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, and Logan Ryan all no longer under contract. And of course, there’s quarterback.

“The Bucs also don’t have very much cap space, though, so we’re giving them a low-cost flier on a very talented running back who just has not been able to stay healthy. New offensive coordinator Dave Canales was with the Seahawks for the entirety of Penny’s tenure, and could find ways to utilize him alongside Rachaad White.”

Rashaad Penny Has Missed Significant Time in 4 Straight Seasons

Penny underwhelmed since being the No. 27 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft with the running back unable to unseat Chris Carson as the Seahawks RB1. The veteran has missed significant time with multiple injuries every season (aside from 2018), including each of the last four years. Penny missed a whopping 32 games over the last three seasons and the recent injuries are sure to create a limited free agent market.

After a strong finish to the 2021 season, the Seahawks were optimistic that Penny could finally become the team’s lead back following Carson’s retirement. Penny had 119 rushes for 749 yards and six touchdowns in 10 appearances in 2021 and finished the season as one of the top running backs in the NFL. The rusher sustained a season-ending fibula fracture, syndesmotic ligament tear and a deltoid ligament tear against the Saints last October.

Rashaad Penny Could Compliment Rachaad White in the Bucs Backfield

The Seahawks signed Penny to a one-year, $5.7 million contract last offseason, and it remains to be seen what he will command in free agency. The Buccaneers already have Rachaad White, and Penny could be an affordable one-year flyer as a compliment to the young running back. Canales believes having a potent rushing attack is a key part of the balanced offense he is looking to implement in Tampa.

“So, having that balance is critical and it’s not about establishing the run, it’s about establishing an attacking offense that makes you have to defend the run but also defend the pass,” Canales explained during a February 22 press conference. “Then that’s when you become dangerous.”

As for the Seahawks, the team could be in the market to add another running back despite the emergence of Walker. The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar has Seattle taking Appalachian State standout Camerun Peoples in the fifth round with the No. 151 overall selection in his latest mock draft.

“Seattle has a need at running back since Kenneth Walker III and DeeJay Dallas (entering the final year of his rookie deal) are the only players under contract,” Dugar wrote on March 10. “Godwin Igwebuike could be re-signed on a minimum salary, but Seattle might still need to replace Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer.”