Writing on the wall for Carolina Panthers veteran after latest move

Things are not looking good for this Carolina Panthers player.
Rashaad Penny
Rashaad Penny / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Canales has made no secret of his desire to make the Carolina Panthers an effective operation when it comes to running the football. The head coach plans to be stubborn in his quest to make his offense feared on the ground. This is also reflected in the moves made throughout a frantic offseason of recruitment.

The Panthers spared no expense in free agency on two new starting offensive guards - Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis - with the physicality and proven production to provide immediate upgrades on running plays. Carolina also traded up for running back Jonathon Brooks at No. 46 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. He's coming off a torn quad, but the former Texas star has the potential to be a genuine three-down threat providing there are no further complications on the health front.

Many fans thought that might be it in terms of running back additions. But according to a recent revelation from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, it seems as if the Panthers aren't done.

Carolina Panthers signing Rashaad Penny is bad news for Miles Sanders

The senior insider revealed that the Panthers plan to sign Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal following their upcoming rookie minicamp. This reunites the veteran with Canales following their time together with the Seattle Seahawks and gives the play-caller a bigger-bodied backfield presence to potentially assist.

Penny's endured some injury struggles in recent years and was seldom seen on the Philadelphia Eagles last time out. However, Canales seems to think there is still something left in the tank. There's also familiarity with the coach's demands, so the transition should be seamless where the former first-round pick is concerned.

This cannot be seen as anything other than bad news for Miles Sanders. The Pro Bowler failed to meet expectations following his high-profile switch during 2023 free agency. Although the Panthers state he'll have a role to play under the new regime, their actions say something far different.

If Penny comes in and makes an immediate impact, it'll be the final nail in Sanders' proverbial Panthers coffin. He got paid his $2 million roster bonus rather than being released, so the Penn State product should get the chance to fight for his place unless an unlikely trade partner comes forward.

Canales and Dan Morgan are leaving nothing to chance in pursuit of growing the franchise from the bottom up. They want competition across the depth chart. They want players that are comfortable within the scheme and in some cases, have worked with the coaching staff previously. More importantly, they want winners capable of assisting with their culture restoration project.

Penny fits the bill in that sense. What this means for Sanders' future remains to be seen.

There doesn't seem like much financial benefit to releasing Sanders. The same could have been said for Vonn Bell, Hayden Hurst, and Bradley Bozeman, but that didn't stop Morgan from pulling the trigger as part of his long-term plans for sustained growth.

At the very least, the arrivals of Penny and Brooks lay down the gauntlet to Sanders in no uncertain terms. Anything less than 100 percent commitment and making every rep count is likely going to come with grave ramifications attached.