NFL Rumors: Oakland Raiders Must Sign Cedric Benson

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IMay 1, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Ravens defeated the Bengals 24-16.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

If the Oakland Raiders were to sign Cedric Benson and pair him with Darren McFadden to form their rushing attack, the Raiders would have one of the NFL's best ground games.

According to ESPN's Jon Clayton, Benson and the Raiders are talking about a possible deal that would bring Benson to the Bay Area.

"Benson is hoping to maybe land with the Oakland Raiders," Clayton said. "...There's an opening there and he's hoping to fill it."

There's plenty of reasons why this couldn't be a better fit for both sides.

Michael Bush's Departure

Michael Bush made many fantasy football owners very happy and lucky last season.

Although he was the Raiders' true backup rusher to McFadden, Bush flourished when called upon and came up with 977 yards in the absence of Oakland's No. 1 back.

Losing a backup isn't that big a deal, but losing a near 1,000-yard rusher? That can hurt a team's offense and more specifically, its ground game.

Benson Can Help Preserve McFadden

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at O.co Coliseum on October 16, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It's no secret McFadden had injury issues last season, and that has to be a cause for concern for the Raiders and their coaching staff.

Oakland must help protect their star with more than just blocking and all the while not skipping a beat using a lesser back. Benson will give the Raiders that second option who can seamlessly fill in for a talented back like McFadden.

Not only will that help the Raiders remain consistent on the ground, it will also help McFadden make it to the age of 30 as a starting running back.

Benson Will Take Pressure off Carson Palmer

The jury is still out on Carson Palmer and his ability to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. That being said, a full season behind center with the Raiders could be the final judgement for the veteran signal-caller.

If it's true his best days are behind him, Palmer will need all the help he can get, and that starts with great blocking as well as a solid running game.

If the Raiders can add Benson to their backfield, they'd easily have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, and that would be something teams have to plan for. In turn, that will take pressure off a potentially struggling Palmer and give him the time he needs to throw the ball.

Oakland's ability to move the ball will be what makes or breaks this team's offense as a whole in 2012.

Worth the Money

Because of their payroll situation, the Raiders can only sign Benson for the veteran's minimum. And since it looks like Benson doesn't have many suitors, that might be the deal he has to take.

So wait, you're telling me that the Raiders can get a 1,000-yard rusher for a veteran's minimum contract? You'd be hard-pressed to convince me that this is a bad idea.


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