The Seattle Seahawks head into the 2022 season with one of the more interesting one-two backfield combinations in the league. However, at least one national analyst thinks that the Seahawks should part ways with one of their star offensive playmakers.
Ian Wharton with Bleacher Report gave his list of players that each team around the league should cut before the 2022 season starts. A lot of the moves made sense, at least financially, but Wharton also mentioned that the Seahawks should part ways with star running back Rashaad Penny.
“Moving on from Penny is more symbolic than a financial move,” Wharton said. The franchise has dealt with continued health issues from Penny…The Seahawks would save only $560,000 by releasing him, but they could open more playing time for Walker, Dallas and Homer. Penny’s frequent injury issues make it impossible for Seattle to rely on him long-term.”
The Seahawks already lost one running back this offseason, with Chris Carson retiring due to his neck injury. They may have drafted a new running back in Kenneth Walker III, but parting ways with one of their top remaining running backs would be a big surprise heading into the 2022 season.
Wharton thinks that the Seahawks should part ways with Penny, but given his impact in college and with the Seahawks, that doesn’t sound like a realistic possibility.
Penny was one of the most productive running backs in college football over his last two years at San Diego State. He had one of the most impressive rushing seasons in recent history as a senior in 2017, rushing for 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns while averaging an absurd 7.8 yards per carry.
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After such a dominant season, Penny was named a consensus All-American and the MWC Offensive Player of the Year. With great size, athleticism, and vision, Penny was selected by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Penny had a quiet start to his NFL career, rushing for 789 yards and five touchdowns over his first two seasons. He played in just three games in 2020, and despite playing just 10 games in 2021 he had the best year of his career, rushing for 749 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
The 26-year-old finally showed what he’s capable of when healthy and in a more full-time role in the backfield. While other running backs on the roster will get snaps in 2022, Penny should have a bigger workload and an opportunity to continue running over opposing defenses as long as he can stay healthy.
Penny should be a featured running back in Seattle’s offense, but the team has a few other players in the backfield who should get some reps.
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III is expected to have a featured role. The rookie had a phenomenal final college season at Michigan State, winning the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s top running back. A hernia injury could keep him sidelined to start the season, but once healthy he should start seeing the field consistently.
Don’t sleep on DeeJay Dallas either. A fourth-round pick back in 2020, Dallas has rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns in limited action the past couple seasons while adding another 244 yards and a score in the passing game. His versatility, along with the health concerns of Penny and Walker, should help Dallas carve out some kind of role in Seattle’s offense.
Travis Homer is another 53-man candidate, and another running back could fight his way onto the final roster, but these are the running backs who are likely going to be playing in 2022.