It has been reported by several sources that the Cedric Benson is on his way to Green Bay and will be signing with the team in the next day or two. Let’s assume he will sign. What does this mean for the Pack?
The team is getting a player who was drafted the same year as Aaron Rodgers and, in fact, was drafted before Rodgers. He went 4th overall to the Bears. Benson was the last 1st round pick to sign his rookie deal that year. He played in Chicago for 3 seasons and largely underachieved.
In June 2008, Benson was arrested twice in a span of 5 weeks for DUI and released by the Bears. He went on to sign with the Bengals in 2008. He has spent the last 4 seasons with the team and was not re-signed when his contract ended following 2011. Benson has garnered some recent interest from the Packers, Jets and Raiders.
One of the big concerns about Benson are his off-field issues. In addition to the DUI arrests previously mentioned, Benson was also arrested in 2010 and 2011 on assault charges in Texas where he starred as a Longhorn running back at University of Texas. After having met with Benson following the 2 DUI arrests and deciding not to suspend him, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Benson for 3 games in 2011 following the last assault charge. It was later reduced to 1 game.
It’s clear that Ced has exercised some very questionable judgment in the past and that is not something to be ignored. He turns 30 this December and naturally has a limited shelf life as a running back. Hopefully the more low-key environment in Green Bay along with a strong veteran presence in the locker room can elicit the best that Benson has left.
In his career, Benson has had some issues hanging onto the ball. He has fumbled 19 times in his career, losing 11 of those. During the last 3 years, he fumbled 13 times and losing 7 of those. You may recall his forgettable performance in Super Bowl XLI when he rushed twice for -1 total yards and had a costly fumble before leaving the game with a knee injury. However, Benson has also amassed 3,429 yards over the past 3 seasons and has eclipsed 1,000 yards in each. In terms of total yards, he ranked 12 th in 2011, 13th in 2010, and 8th in 2009, his best statistical season (2nd in yards/game behind Chris Johnson).