The Oakland Raiders are in need of a solid backup for running back Darren McFadden. As exceptional as McFadden is out on the field, he's also been prone to injuries. In 2011, McFadden left the game early in week seven against the Kansas City Chiefs after suffering what turned out to be a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
While we have to hope that McFadden stays healthy in 2012, the Raiders obviously need to have a solid plan in place just in case he's unable to stay in the game. Michael Bush did an exceptional job as backup in 2011, nearly amassing 1,000 rushing yards as well as scoring seven touchdowns, but he signed with the Chicago Bears in March.
Two of the running backs currently being discussed as potential new members of the Silver and Black include free agent Cedric Benson, formerly with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Ryan Grant, currently a free agent and former member of the Green Bay Packers.
According to Steve Corkran, NFL writer for the Contra Costa Times, he believes the Raiders are more interested in Grant than Benson, although Benson has expressed a serious interest in joining Oakland.
On Tuesday, May 1, ESPN's John Clayton reported on NFL Live that Benson said he's hoping to fill the spot left open by Bush, but as of late Tuesday he'd not heard from anyone within the Raiders' franchise. In 2011, Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards for the third consecutive year, and was credited with six touchdowns.
Grant has already visited with the New England Patriots but did not sign. He rushed for 559 yards and scored two touchdowns, and was said to have played a little better down the stretch after getting off to a slow start.
I believe either running back could be a good complement to McFadden, although I would hope that the general manager Reggie McKenzie will take a close look at both men. I have to like that Benson has expressed his desire to become a Raider, and with the team looking at a very low budget this year, he'd probably be willing to sign for the veteran's minimum without a lot of other offers on the table.
Either way, McFadden will need a rest now and then to prevent further injury and at the same time, keep the Raiders' offense going strong. With three stellar running backs in McFadden, Benson as well as another current running back, Taiwan Jones, they'll present a tough battle for any opponents they have to face in 2012.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, and has been an Oakland Raiders fan for her entire life. She has continued her loyalty to the team through its many ups and downs over the decades, and has been privileged to meet several of her favorite players, including famed quarterback, Jim Plunkett. Follow her on Twitter @kcdermody or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kcdermodywriter.
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