Pros and Cons: Cedric Benson to the Packers All Green Bay Packers All the Time
New Packers Running Back Cedric Benson
New Packers Running Back Cedric Benson

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).

It should also be mentioned he ranked in the top 10 in rushing attempts in each of those years. He is the definition of a “work horse” running back but has never reached double digits in rushing TD’s and has only 1 receiving TD in his career.

He is likely being brought in to provide some experience and production in a backfield that currently features 10 total years of playing experience (James Starks, Alex Green, Brandon Saine and John Kuhn). Benson has been credited with a strong work ethic and he plays hard. His conditioning has never been an issue. He has also proven to be a decent blocker, which is an important facet of a RB’s game in Green Bay.

The pass-heavy offensive scheme makes some scratch their heads at this signing but GM Ted Thompson marches to the beat of his own drum and has a Super Bowl win to his credit. While he has seemingly foregone bringing in outside free agents over the past 4 seasons, Benson would mark the 2nd “big name” outsider added to this year’s team. UFA Jeff Saturday was signed in March to replace departed Center Scott Wells. If nothing else, it can’t be said that the team isn’t thinking outside the box in trying to improve its offense.

( Editors Note: Jason Perone is a major-league Packers fan who will be acting as a correspondent to  You can follow Jason on twitter at @WSB_Jason )




Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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  • Wagszilla

    Love the move.

    Power runner. Lower center of gravity. Reminds me of Marshawn Lynch.

    Starks is best in space, Green is quick but small, Saine not the best pure runner.

    So that leaves Kuhn for those short down and distances which didn’t always work and when they did they weren’t pretty. McCarthy became increasingly frustrated by the predictability too.

    Hope they carry all 5 RBs.

    • I agree I would much prefer Bensen over Kuhn in short yardage, but comparing him to Marshawn Lynch is a bit extreme. He is not going to break off long runs like Lynch can, but I’m mostly in favor of this move. He will get the tough yards better than Grant would – the only worry is the fumbling.

    • Its only to add some decent depth. Hes healthy, but he does have a lot of fumbles to his credit the past 2 seasons.
      Does he take time away from John Kuhn in goal line situations?
      He is good at pass blocking though.

  • Ron LC

    No risk signing. It’s become obvious Starks will never play a full season.

  • Dan

    I like the move, I don’t like the fumbling at all, but he did carry the rock a lot for Cincinnati. He’ll have 2/3rds or fewer carry’s with GB, which means less fumbles

  • Oppy

    Elsewhere on the web, some Packers fans have been talking about the fact that Benson has so many more attempts over the last three years than Grant, that to just compare the total number of Fumbles is both unfair and misleading.

    I’ve seen it posted that the fumble-to-carry ratio of Benson is, for all intents and purposes, the same as Ryan Grant.

    Take that with a grain of salt, I did not look into the numbers myself.

  • Mark

    I like the move, but the BEST move to be made at rb would be to put in a waiver claim for Chris Ivory when he is cut by the Saints.

    • tlvincent4

      or try to trade them Gurley or Borel for Ivory would also have made sense for both teams.

  • Lou

    Packer backfield pales in comparison to Forte and Bush in Chicago. Watching Starks trying to catch a perfect screen for an easy first down was like watching a fish out of water. He does run hard but has no finishing speed. Grant is faster than Benson, has better hands, and knows the system inside out, I can’t believe he was not the one they signed, something does not make sense.

    • Jason Perone

      While Grant does know the system well, so does the team know him. They would have brought him back if he were the best option. GM Thompson’s pattern, over the past few years, has been to go with low-profile guys and those familiar with the offense. Whether’s it’s health-related or other there’s a reason why Grant, who has the skill set that he does, remains unsigned throughout the league. No argument, the Bears’ backfield is more potent, but their offense has required more production from their run game to succceed than has Green Bay’s. It’s no secret the Pack will air it out this year. They don’t necessarily need a 1,000 yard guy but one thing Benson has that Grant doesn’t is 4 straight seasons over 1,000 so he’s stayed healthy and is getting it done. CB adds some savvy to a running game that features a total of 4 years of experience if you take Kuhn out of the equation. I’m interested to see how he does in Green & Gold.

  • Of course you all remember Favre and Green in their prime? (Early 2000’s) Remarkable to watch, but that offense was like a 1960’s Jaguar – something was always broken… it’s called turnovers.

    AR will never be dumb like BF was with the ball. But I don’t want a return of Green’s fumble-itis in Benson…

  • Razer

    Watching Grant trying to bounce it outside was painful and watching him go down on first contact was disappointing for an inside runner. Aside from Grants shortcomings as a runner, I think that his contract holdout and the way his agent postured at the expense of Russ Ball ultimately killed any chance of another contract.

    If Benson can pick up the blitz and keep his fumbles low, he will be the biggest addition to an already powerful offense. Spread them out, then pound Benson inside – I like it.

  • Oppy

    No one ever accounts for the fact that the player just might not have wanted to sign with a team.

    Maybe the Packers DID try to resign Grant before going to Cedric Benson. Maybe Grant and his agent tried leveraging the situation the Packers are in for more money that the Packers thought he was worth.

    Maybe Grant’s pride kept him from returning to a team that let him fade into oblivion instead of resigning him in the off season.

    It’s not like teams just point at a free agent and say, “You, there. You’re with us now.”

    Who knows. All I’m saying is, perhaps Benson wasn’t the Packers first choice.

    • BTF

      Benson’s deal is reportedly for the vet minimum. I know Grant restructured his deal last year but can’t see him being over the moon with a minimum offer…

      • Oppy

        Benson’s deal supposedly includes 1.2 guaranteed plus is heavily incentive-laden on top of a base yearly salary. Or, I could have it all mixed up, since I’m working off of memory from reading the detais VERY early this morn before i had my coffee.

        Either way, yeah, people forget that players have to agree to the terms and contracts are a two-way street. I imagine an attempt to sign Grant would be low-key- the Packers wouldn’t have to even physically bring him in before making an offer- a simple phone call to discuss the possibility could have ended the deal before it truly began. Grant’s presence would have only been needed to ensure he hadn’t let himself go right before the pen hit the paper..

        • Oppy

          I see where my morning eyes did me wrong- the contract I was looking at was Benson’s LAST one (one year 1.25 guaranteed, incentives).

          You are correct, he’s league vet minimum and has some stipulations that drop his numbers if he gets hurt

  • Big T

    Not so sure on this move… Green Bay usually has very high standards on off field behavior. Cedric likes his booze and drugs, not so sure citizens of Green Bay will have open arms for him. If he plays as hard as he boozes it up we will be just fine though.

    • Oppy

      Hey, the citizens of Green bay love their booze as much as any other SConnie town.

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