The Green Bay Packers have officially signed running back Cedric Benson to a one-year contract on August 12, 2012. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported this news via Twitter. The Packers needed another running back because all three of their primary backs are nursing injuries. This includes a turf toe injury to James Starks. He's listed as week-to-week.
Here are a few notes about Benson.
Benson will turn 30-years-old in December. He spent the past four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of the past three seasons. Benson had 1,067 rushing yards with six touchdowns in 2011. Benson has never been a threat in the passing game. That's evidenced with his one career touchdown reception.
Current Running Backs
The Packers' top three running backs have all been injury prone. Since 2010, James Starks has only played in 16-of-32 regular-season games. Alex Green is still recovering from a season-ending knee injury. John Kuhn is also returning from an injury. Brandon Saine missed the first preseason game. Despite limited playing time, Saine also suffered a concussion in 2011.
General manager Ted Thompson normally avoids controversial characters. He hasn't shied away from them this offseason. His offseason additions include Phillip Merling and Anthony Hargrove. Hargrove could begin the season on an eight-game suspension. That's because of his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty system.
Benson has had his share of off-field troubles. He most-recently served a five-day jail sentence in September 2011. Benson was jailed because he received a misdemeanor for a bar incident in Austin, Texas.
Benson's behavior hasn't affected his on-field availability. He missed one game in the past two seasons.
The biggest concern with Benson would deal with fumbles. Benson has combined for 12 fumbles (seven lost) in the past two seasons. The Packers can't afford to surrender time-of-possession or field position. They had the NFL's second-best turnover differential in 2011 (plus-24).
What About Ryan Grant?
The Packers acquired Ryan Grant via trade from the New York Giants before the 2007-08 regular-season opener. Grant only had six carries for 27 yards through the first seven weeks of the season. He had 929 rushing yards after that.
Like Benson, Grant will turn 30-years-old in December. The difference is that Grant has five years of experience in this offense. Benson would probably need one-half of a season to learn the scheme.
Grant has reportedly received offers from other teams. His agent, Alan Herman, had previously claimed that "Economically, the deals haven't been right."
What To Expect?
Don't expect Benson to be a savior. The Bengals obviously didn't think too highly of him when they opted to not re-sign him this offseason. Instead, they added 27-year-old BenJarvus Green-Ellis to what's expected to be a running-back-by-committee in Cincinnati.
That doesn't mean that Benson isn't worth a look. The Packers have three games to evaluate him. It's an inexpensive signing. He could flourish in short-yardage situations. The biggest thing is that he's much-more durable than any other running back on the roster.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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