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Anybody see Cedric Benson lately?
Word is he fell off a cliff in 2011.
Though Benson did gain 1,067 yards last year, he clearly had no juice. He cracked 100 yards only three times all season, averaging just 61.3 yards in his other 12 games.
And it's no secret that the Bengals are looking to upgrade from Benson, who is a free agent.
Sure, Cincinnati could take a back with one of their two first-round picks—like Lamar Miller—but there's a better option that would cost the Bengals less than a first-round pick while giving them first-round pick production.
In Carolina, the Panthers have not only invested $43 million in DeAngelo Williams, they also use quarterback Cam Newton on designed running plays.
While it's debatable whether Carolina will expose Newton to injury by running him as much as he did in 2011, the Panthers would nevertheless like to get more from their $43 million investment in Williams.
Clearly, then, Stewart is just the maraschino cherry on top of the Panthers' ice cream sundae.
And I dislike maraschino cherries.
So here's another scenario that will kill two birds with one proverbial stone.
Stewart averaged 8.9 fantasy points per game last year—an impressive number considering his limited role on the team. He pounded out 761 yards on just 142 carries—an amazing 5.4 yards per carry.
In fact, Stewart has never averaged less than 4.3 yards per carry in any of his four seasons.
He also had four touchdowns—just two less than Benson, despite having about half the carries.
Stewart also caught 43 passes for an additional 413 yards (8.8 yards per catch) with another touchdown.
Stewart will turn just 25 this year, so he could be the young all-around back the Bengals need to complement quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green.
Like the Browns, the Bengals also have two first-round picks this year. Cincinnati could send a second-round pick to Carolina for Stewart. Then the Bengals could save their first-round picks for other needs like offensive line or anywhere on defense.
In return, Williams would get to use his special skills in Carolina without another RB vulturing his touches.
It would be a win-win for everybody.
Including fantasy owners.