NFL Free Agent Rumors: Top 10 Potential Suitors for Bengals' RB Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson is a free agent once a new collective bargaining agreement is signed. Whether or not he stays in Cincinnati is going to come down to money and opportunity.
Benson has done well for himself in Cincinnati, but now he has to decide if Jay Gruden's offense will be the right fit for his talents, or if it is best to move on.
Benson is 28-years-old, so he has a few more years left in those legs.
There should be a market for Benson once free agency starts, so we will look at some of the teams who may be interested in signing him.
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Clinton Portis is gone, so the Redskins have a need.
With all the transition going on in D.C., Benson could come in and provide some stability with the Redskins running game. Still in his prime, he can give the Redskins a good option out of the backfield while they develop whichever quarterback ends up taking snaps for the team in 2011.
New York Giants
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Ahmad Bradshaw is a free agent as well. If the Giants lose Bradshaw, or choose not to re-sign him, then Benson becomes an option for them to pursue.
The Giants have a good running game, and they do not want to let it atrophy and put more pressure on Eli Manning to do it all.
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Peyton Hillis was the big bruiser out of the Browns backfield last year, and that was about it.
Jerome Harrison, the standout running back from 2009, fell out of Brian Daboll's and Eric Mangini's schemes, was benched and then traded once Mangini made it clear he was not going to use him anymore.
A succession of other running backs never had much of an impact and Montario Hardesty blew out his ACL in preseason.
Hardesty will try and come back this year, but considering Hardesty only has had one true healthy season since high school, the Browns might sign Benson as some insurance and to add depth.
New York Jets
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The Jets have Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield. Greene was good, but not great, and Tomlinson is getting old.
The Jets have indicated they will keep Tomlinson, but adding Benson could be too tempting an option to pass up. With all the other free agents lined up this year, though, the Jets may decide to keep the status quo for 2011.
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Depending on what happens with the new CBA, DeAngelo Williams could be an unrestricted free agent once business as usual resumes.
Either way, the Panthers are rebuilding and looking for new faces, so Benson might be an option for a team looking to move on.
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Tony Sparano is looking at having a completely new offense in 2011, and he may start by adding Cedric Benson to it.
Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown both are free agents. Williams has indicated he is ready to move on and Brown may not be kept. The Dolphins are projected to draft Mark Ingram, but they still need a veteran presence in the backfield even if that scenario comes to pass.
Benson would be able to help Ingram transition to the pros if the Dolphins go in that direction.
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The New Orleans Saints, Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, who both have been underwhelming and injured.
Thomas is a free agent, so the Saints can choose to try and keep him, or see if Benson will give their backfield a little more spark.
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If there is one thing the 2010 season proved for the Colts, it is they have very little depth on offense.
Once Joseph Addai went down, it seemed there were few options and limited production out of the backfield.
Benson adds depth and takes the pressure off of Addai and Peyton Manning.
The Broncos have depth at quarterback with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. What they do not have is good depth at running back.
Knowshon Moreno is the only real threat at running back for the Broncos, and with new head coach John Fox in place, new faces tend to be brought in.
St. Louis Rams
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The Rams have Steven Jackson...and that is about it for quality running backs.
Like other teams on this list, Benson would add depth and give the team more options out of the backfield, while taking pressure off of the quarterback.
It is hard to argue with that line of thinking, and it will make Benson in high demand should he throw himself out on the open market.