After a bit of a slow start to NFL free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles are finally on the board with an external addition!
The Birds have agreed to terms with free agent running back Rashaad Penny, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. The exact contract details were not immediately leaked, which could suggest that it’s a team-friendly deal. UPDATE: This suspicion was correct. Penny’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.35 million with only $600K guaranteed and a max value of $2.1 million.
We previously discussed Penny as an Eagles free agent target last year.
As a 2018 first-round pick, Penny has largely been a bust for the Seattle Seahawks. But damn was he good to finish the 2021 season! He posted the following numbers over the final five games last year: 92 attempts, 671 yards (7.3 average), 6 TD. Wild. The Eagles will not be looking to spend significant resources on the running back position, which could easily rule them out of targeting Penny. But he would be an intriguing addition given the price. At 5’11”, 220 pounds, he would bring more size to the Eagles’ backfield. We know Penny was previously on Philly’s radar considering they hosted him on a pre-draft visit in 2017.
Penny ended up re-signing with the Seahawks on a one-year deal worth $5.7 million ($5.07 million guaranteed). He logged 57 carries for 346 rushing yards (6.1 average) and two touchdowns in five games before suffering a season-ending broken fibula.
Injury issues have been a constant through Penny’s career. He’s only played in 42 out of 82 possible regular season games. The Eagles clearly cannot merely bank on him staying healthy.
They can be reasonably excited about his upside when he is on the field, however. By all indications, he’s a very talented and incredibly efficient runner.
Rashaad Penny's rank among ball carriers with 100+ attempts in 2022, per PFF— Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) March 14, 2023
Yards per carry: 1st (6.1)
Yards after contact per attempt: 1st (4.23)
Breakaway rate: 1st (50.9%)
Elusive Rating: 5th
Eagles O-line ranks:
5th in run blocking grade
6th in adjusted line yards
Among 56 RBs with at least 150 carries over the last two years, Rashaad Penny ranks:— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) March 14, 2023
* 1st in YPC (6.2)
* 1st in yards after contact per rush (4.43)
But has been healthy for 42 games in 5 seasons. 100+ rushes in a season once.
High upside, but concerning injury history.
Penny is coming to an environment where he is primed to succeed. The Eagles offer one of — if not THE best — run blocking offensive lines in the NFL. Jalen Hurts’ mobility also opens up opportunities for his backfield options.
There’s reason to believe Penny could be an upgrade on Miles Sanders, who now seems even more likely to leave in free agency. Sanders is a nice player but there are times where he leaves meat on the bone as a runner. He’s also a non-factor in the passing game; Sanders ranks dead last in yards per target since 2020.
Of course, it’s not like Penny is a big pass-catcher either. He’s logged just 27 receptions for 222 yards and one touchdown in his career.
That’s OK, though. The Eagles will lean on Kenneth Gainwell — who showed promise in the playoffs — to some extent in that regard. They could also look to re-sign Boston Scott, who is currently a free agent. And/or they will to add some more running back talent in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Penny signing obviously does not come without risk but there’s upside to be excited about here. He has the potential to be a big time contributor to the Eagles in 2023.
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