Cincinnati Bengals Sign Free-Agent RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Matt Gray@mattkgrayContributor IMarch 21, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Giants won 21-17. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the Cincinnati Bengals have come to terms on a three-year deal with running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Green-Ellis visited Cincinnati over the weekend, his visit coinciding with that of highly prized former Oakland Raider Michael Bush. Many wondered if Cincinnati handed Green-Ellis an invite to act as leverage in the signing of Michael Bush, but it now seems the Bengals gravitated towards the RB known as "The Law Firm."

Mary Paoletti of Comcast Sportsnet was the first to break the news, reporting that Green-Ellis was likely to be a Bengal Wednesday afternoon. 

Green-Ellis posted 667 yards in 2011 whilst struggling to garner much attention in the Tom Brady-centric Patriots offense, totaling 11 TDs for the year.

He will bring a versatility to the Bengals backfield that his predecessor Cedric Benson did not, and brings with him a pair of hands that are yet to fumble a football in his four years in the league.

His signing likely spells the end for Cedric Benson, who also finds himself in search of a new deal on the free-agent market.

It was Benson's off-the-field troubles in 2011 that started this chain of events. With Jay Gruden's offensive overhaul in full swing, Benson's indiscretions positioned him in the same pile as Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, with his on-the-field performance doing little to redeem him.

The Bengals backfield will now consist of Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott and recent acquisition Aaron Brown. The potential also remains for an early round pick such as Doug Martin or David Wilson to join the group.

With a good combination of size, speed and varying skill sets in their roster of backs, the Bengals will likely move towards the "committee" approach that Jay Gruden has spoken of in recent weeks (per Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official site). 

It is also worth noting that Green-Ellis is not used to being the focus of an offense. If this is the direction the Bengals want to move in, his unselfish play and good attitude in New England can only be positives.

After a typically slow start to free agency, the addition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis will quickly improve a Bengals offense that is starting to look dangerous.