NFL Free Agent Rumors: Signing Cedric Benson Would Be Shrewd Move for Browns

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 18: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores a touchdown against Josh Gordy #38 of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 18, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Bengals beat the Rams 20-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns should sign RB Cedric Benson and turn their attention with their prime draft picks to other needs.

With Peyton Hillis bolting in free agency, the Browns certainly have a need at RB. This has many connecting them with Alabama RB Trent Richardson in the draft.

However, signing Benson and taking an RB with a later pick would be a much wiser move for the Bengals. To that end, they reportedly have some interest in Benson.

The Rumors

Browns General Manager Tom Heckert recently sat down with The Plain Dealer to discuss offseason strategies. Mary Kay Cabot offered up the following in regards to Benson. 

He also did not rule out the Browns signing former Bengals running back Cedric Benson at some point this off-season. Not on the front burner, but possible.

That is certainly a tepid endorsement for their interest in Benson. They need to move that interest to the front burner. 

Why Benson Makes Sense

Benson, 29, is still a productive back. He is working on three straight seasons of going over 1,000 yards. He also scored at least six TDs in those three seasons. 

Last season he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but often faced a stack box. He is a reliable running back that will rarely get negative yards on a carry. 

He would definitely give the Browns a competent starter. This would allow them to use the ultra-valuable No. 4 pick on a player like Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne. 

That would give the Browns far more value than selecting Richardson. More than any other position, RB has proven that there are steals to be had in the mid-rounds. 

The Browns can take a back later in this draft and hope he exceeds his expectations. All the while having Benson as a consistent option.