The core of Pete Carroll’s offense with the Seattle Seahawks has been the running game and the struggles on the ground to start the season became too much to overcome. It is no coincidence that the Seahawks were able to rattle off wins as Rashaad Penny ran over opposing defenses.
The challenge is both Penny and Chris Carson have battled significant injuries throughout their careers, leaving the Seahawks with a difficult decision to make this offseason. With Penny set to hit free agency, the Seahawks could look in another direction if his price tag becomes higher than their comfort level.
During the January 10 edition of the Seahawks Man 2 Man podcast, The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar and journalist Christopher Kidd discussed potential free agent options for the Seahawks. Kidd believes one name to watch for the Seahawks is Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette.
“Well, you said Leonard Fournette, if Leonard’s like the headliner, I’m okay if the Seahawks want to go out and pay or how much you’re going to pay, that’s what it comes down to,” Kidd noted. “But if Leonard Fournette’s the headliner in the 2022 free agency class and he wants to come to Seattle, I say go for it.
“…One-year deal, $3.2 million for Leonard Fournette that was his deal with the Bucs. He didn’t have the best year this season, so maybe this [gets] him at one-year, $2 mil dude, I would be okay with that if that’s what he wanted to do, just throwing that out there. That’s one running back I would say go ahead and get him. He can come in, he’s physical.”
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The Seahawks Made a ‘Strong Bid’ to Sign Fournette in 2021
Fournette is likely to command much more on the open market. Pro Football Focus projects that Fournette will land a two-year, $16 million contract with $11 million guaranteed money this offseason.
We know the Seahawks did have an interest in adding Fournette during the 2021 offseason. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that the Seahawks made a “strong bid to poach him.”
“Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette is weighing an offer to remain in Tampa (Brady is recruiting him back), but the Seahawks have made a strong bid to poach him,” Breer tweeted on March 16, 2021. “Stylistically, Seattle would be an interesting fit.”
Ultimately, Fournette decided to re-sign with the Buccaneers, and it will be interesting to see if the Seahawks make another run at the former top-five pick. Fournette notched 180 carries for 812 yards and eight touchdowns in his 14 regular-season appearances. The Buccaneers running back also added 69 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns.
Penny Notched More Than 130 Rushing Yards in 4 of the Final 5 Games
Penny finished the season as strong as any top running back in the league. The Seahawks rusher notched more than 130 rushing yards in four of the team’s final five games. Dugar cautioned the Seahawks against re-signing Penny and viewing him as a complimentary back to Carson.
“Rashaad’s not a Robin, we talked about this in August,” Dugar noted. “Rashaad is Batman and if you let him be Batman, he can do what he did. He was the best back in football for a month, not even lying. Better than Jonathan Taylor and [Nick] Chubb or whoever for a month. Yes, he was, he really was.
“But now, if you ask him to go, ‘alright, you’re only going to get about seven carries now, because we got to give Chris [Carson] like 13.’ Well then, okay, then he goes back to being Robin, and I just don’t think that’s for him, you know.”