Recently, there have been reports that the Oakland Raiders are “interested in signing Cedric Benson“. He would most likely come into training cap to compete with Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson to be the No. 2 back behind Darren McFadden. He would most likely be signed to a Veteran Minimum deal, which in his case would be $810,000. If the the Oakland Raiders signed Cedric Benson, it would be a huge mistake, and I am going to tell you why.
First off, most Raiders’ fans are under the illusion that the Raiders don’t have a “power-back”. With the signing of Owen Schmitt it allows the Raiders to move Marcel Reece to Running Back on goal-line and short yardage situations, with Owen Schmitt at Fullback. Marcel Reece has proven that he can effictively carry the ball. Marcel Reece carried the ball 17 times for a total of 122 yards. Many of those times he he got the team a first down in a short yardage situation. Why go outside the team for a solution, when you already have what you need?
As mentioned by a recent ProFootballWeekly report, the Raiders only have $1.34 million in cap space. If the Raiders really wanted to go outside the organization for a “power-back”, they could sign Jackie Battle. It would only cost the Raiders $685,000 to sign Jackie Battle with a Veteran Minimum deal. (a Veteran Minimum deal’s value is dependent on the years that the player has been in the NFL. Benson: 7, Battle: 5).
The Raiders already have two other very talented Running Backs behind Darren McFadden. Their names are Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones. Mike Goodson is a very explosive back that already has experience in the Zone-Blocking Scheme. He was stuck behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in Carolina, but whenever he was able to get his hands on the football , he made a play . He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which is something Cedric Benson isn’t very good at. The Panthers had approximately $6.8 million invested in Stewart and Williams, so inevitably they got more opportunities to get touches. If Goodson wasn’t drafted by the Panthers, he wouldn’t be on the Oakland Raiders’ roster today. He is extremely talented. He has a similar play-style with Darren McFadden, so if “Run-DMC” went down for an extended period of time, the offense wouldn’t have to change their play selection very much. Though Goodson did suffer a season-ending injury last year, he should back to full speed by now. Al Davis drafted Taiwan Jones in the 4th Round of the 2011 NFL Draft. While he is still raw going into his second-year, he has uncanny speed and acceleration. If he can make a solid adjustment to the ZBS, he can be a real weapon for the Raiders’ offense. I have confidence in Taiwan Jones as a No. 3/change-of-pace back, I even think he can be capable No. 2 if Darren McFadden or Mike Goodson goes down this season.
While you could make an argument that Running Back depth is a need, but there are bigger holes at other positions on the team. With the possibility of Rolando McClain serving a suspension (I would assume in the 4-6 games range), the Raiders desperately need to add a veteran Middle Linebacker. I like Travis Goethel, but he is unproven and injury-prone. If we brought in a guy like E.J. Henderson or James Farrior it would provide good insurance if Rolando McClain is suspended. Even if McClain isn’t suspended, he desperately needs to be pushed for his starting job. He was arguably one of the main reasons along with Chuck Bresnahan why our defense was horrible last year. We also have needs on the offensive and defensive line. Signing a guy like Andre Carter, Aubrayo Franklin, or Jake Scott would be much more useful for the team.
Now the biggest reason we shouldn’t sign Cedric Benson is because, he just isn’t a good player anymore. If you follow me on twitter (@maxs154), you know I am not a big proponent of signing Cedric Benson. Over the last two days i have received tweets saying, “r u stupid cedric benson rushed 1000 yards last year” or “if cedric benson sucks why did he run for 1000 yards last year LOL”. Stop! Rushing for 1000 yards in a season does not mean as much as it used to. Yes, Cedric Benson did rush for over 1000 yards last year, I understand that. The stat I find more important than the ‘Total Rushing Yards’ is the YPR (Yards Per Rush). Benson played behind one of the better run-blocking O-line’s last year with the Bengals, and he only had a YPR of 3.9 yards. And if you did didn’t know, that’s not very good. With Benson it’s quantity over quality. Cedric Benson rushed for over 1000yards because he constantly was fed the ball, not because he was dynamic or because he had quality rushes. The qualm I have with Cedric Benson is, he isn’t a good receiver out of the backfield. In Gregg Knapp’s offense ‘backs have to be able to catch the ball on screen’s and dump-offs. He loves to get the Running Back involved in the passing game if he knows the defense is bringing-the-heat. During his whole career, Benson has never been a great receiver. He has totaled 106 receptions for only 736 yards over his 7 year career. Last year in Cincinatti Jay Gruden became the offensive coordinator. He constantly made an effort to get the ‘backs involved in the passing-game, Benson wasn’t able to catch the ball well or make himself a weapon.
I don’t think Cedric Benson is a terrible player. He can still complete some nice short yardage runs and push-the-pile occasionally, but it isn’t consistent enough to warrant a signing. At this point he is 29 and has some wear n’ tear on him, he won’t add a new element to the offense. I understand that Darren McFadden is very injury-prone, but I think we have solid backups. If Goodson or Jones got injured I wouldn’t mind bringing him in, but at this point the need just isn’t there.
I apologize if you thought I was being facetious, I was just trying to get my point across in an intelligent manor. I hope this provided some insight, and made it apparent that we don’t need to sign Cedric Benson. Thanks, peace out RaiderNation!