The Green Bay Packers have officially inked a deal with veteran running back Cedric Benson. The seven-year back has spent three years with the Chicago Bears and four years with the Cincinnati Bengals. He has rushed for 5,769 yards on 1,529 attempts with 31 touchdowns and hauled in 106 receptions for 736 yards and one touchdown in his career.
Many fans are wondering what is there to be gained by bringing Benson in versus simply re-signing Ryan Grant, who is already familiar with the offense and the team. Simply put Benson is cheaper, as he will only require a one-year, $850,000 contract whereas Grant wanted a bigger deal. Fans know by now general manger Ted Thompson will go with the cheaper of two players when they are very similar in production.
I, for one, am very excited about this signing, as I believe it has greatly improved Green Bay’s backfield. Here are five reasons why signing Benson is a good move:
Benson will come to the Packers as the most productive back on the team and statistically has better numbers than Grant, but that is mostly due to him playing a year longer and never missing an entire season due to an injury. He will give the Packers more than what they currently have and will give the team an edge in the running game.
Benson’s seven years in the league means he has more experience in the NFL than all of the current Packers running backs combined. The only player with any kind of experience is James Starks and that is only because he played in the postseason and the Super Bowl. Take that away and he is one of the more inexperienced players in the league. Benson will be able to show the other running backs what’s what and lead by example. He will also be able to teach them verbally and they will actually listen while soaking up all the knowledge they can because Benson has already been through the grinder.
Proven running back
Being a proven running back means everything to a team, especially one that has high hopes of winning a Super Bowl as the Packers do. Benson has the experience, the productivity, and the leadership skills to make Green Bay’s offense better, which is something many people believed was not possible. The Packers will not only benefit from his presence in the present but also Benson will advance their running game for years to come as Starks and other backs learn from him, just like Jeff Saturday will do for the offensive line.
Benson will be able to run the ball with authority, block for Aaron Rodgers in passing situations, and catch the ball out of the backfield and pick up yardage as a check down. Having a versatile back is very important in an offense such as the Packers. They do not want to give any hints away at what play they might be running, which has been a problem in the past with switching in certain running backs. However, with Benson that will not be the case anymore because he is versatile enough to handle any situation.
One thing that cannot be taught is the will and determination to be great. Benson has had a career filled with highs such as rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, as well as, lows such as fumbling 19 times and losing 11 of them. He knows what it takes to be a good player and teammate and understands he may never get another opportunity to win a ring or play with the kind of talent he will be associated with in 2012. There is no question he will be determined to help an offense loaded with talent led by the league’s MVP become even better and set new marks.