Even after three straight 1,000 yard season, the Cincinnati Bengals elected to let Cedric Benson walk in the off season. Rumors swirled about the Oakland Raiders, but nothing materialized. Benson was left in the Free Agent pool, as he had to stay in shape at his home, as he waited for the call, the security of an NFL contract. The lack of interest could be credited to numerous arrests while in Cincinnati, and because of his mediocre 3.9 Yards Per Carry Benson averaged in 2011. It isn’t entirely Benson’s fault as the league transitions to pass heavy, leaving Running Backs like Benson, RB Ryan Grant, and Joseph Addai all unemployed heading into Training Camp. Finally Benson is one of 90 men all fighting for 53 spots on an NFL roster. As reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) Benson is in Green Bay ready to sign a contract with the Green Bay Packers. It was an unexpected move, but a notable one worth talking about.
What exactly can Benson do for the Packers, let’s first look at his chances of making it out of camp. The Packers RB Depth Chart is headlined by James Starks who rushed for 578 Yards last year while splitting carries with Ryan Grant. Backing up Starks is 2nd year RB Alex Green, who suffered a Torn ACL early last season, but possesses good speed and hands as a pass catcher. Benson is ready to prove he can still be a starter in this league. Last season Benson accumulated 1,067 Rushing Yards with 6 TD’s and 5 fumbles. The 3.9 YPC as mentioned before is a problem, but not crippling for a short yardage back. The biggest concern for the Packers will be Benson’s inability to hold on to the football (12 fumbles past 2 seasons). Benson hasn’t officially signed, but I expect the ink to dry this weekend. Benson likely suit up for his first practice Monday, where we will see what Benson’s role will be. Green Bay has an elite offense even without Benson. Led by 2011 MVP Aaron Rodgers, opposing defenses already can’t stop the pass, even when they know it’s coming. If the Packers can get even an average running game going, it makes their offense more lethal, and harder to stop. I expect Benson to be Green Bay’s short yardage back, and should get goal line work, something the Packers didn’t have in 2011.