Cedric Benson’s departure from the Bengals in free agency was assumed long became official.
Benson was critical of the offensive direction on several occasions, didn’t hear anything from the Bengals once free agency opened and then had his exit set in stone when Cincinnati signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a free agent. Benson might not have expected to be in the Bengals’ plans, but he likely imagined some team would be interested in bringing him onboard for next season.
There haven’t been any bites yet. Benson told Alex Marvez of Sirius XM NFL Radio that he hasn’t met with any teams about signing with them. Benson said he expects to be part of a two-back rotation wherever he goes, although his skill set isn’t a perfect fit for that role. He doesn’t catch passes out of the backfield, which means he needs to be paired with a specific kind of back and can’t play on third downs. Basically, that would leave him the kind of role he played in Cincy and, at 29, there probably won’t be much call for him to be a workhorse even though he’s run for more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons.
It’s the latest sign of the different value placed on running backs in today’s NFL. At his age and with his usage over the last three years, Benson shouldn’t command a top contract but the fact that he’s not even generating interest tells you where people are looking for backfield help.
There should be some nibbles after the draft as teams realize they didn’t do enough to address their running back needs, but Benson’s probably not going to get a chance to be all that picky about his next team.