If one thing is clear, it's that the Bengals run game is light years behind where it was a year ago. Last year in only 13 games, the guy we nicknamed Ced The Pred racked up 1251 yards on 301 carries, with a 4.2 yards per carry average. This year, through 14 games, he has only managed 1006 yards, on 276 carries for a 3.6 yards per carry average. This is not exactly a glowing endorsement for signing him to a new deal.
However, here are a few reasons why I think the Bengals should consider keeping him next year.
Resigning Benson could provide some stability: As we all know, RB is only one of many areas that the Bengals are going to have to look at in the offseason. They have a lot of holes that need to be filled and contracts that need to be addressed including OG, WR, FS and SS, QB??, DT, DE, and CB. Signing Benson can provide stability in what is otherwise going to be an unstable year.
This doesn't seem to be a RB rich draft class: Usually when people write things like this, they have to eat crow afterward, but as of right now, there isn't a RB projected to go in the top 15 except for maybe Mark Ingram. In fact, the few mock drafts that I've looked at have him projected as the ONLY running back drafted in the first round.
Benson is just a badass: Ok, the homer in me just likes the guy. He runs hard, appreciates the game, and plays with heart. And also, this team seems to win ball games when they give him the ball.
There aren't many FA running backs that you could sign for less than Benson: The biggest name out there is DeAngelo Williams, but he is probably looking for a big contract. Ahmad Bradshaw is also going to be a FA, but will command a healthy pay check next year. Michael Bush of Oakland would be one possibility, but it remains to be seen if he would be an improvement over Benson. The fact is that Free Agency is always a crap shoot, and Benson will probably be as cheap, if not cheaper than all of those players.
By not drafting a RB (particularly in the first three rounds), the team is freed up to address other positions of need: With all of the holes that this team has (as mentioned above), the Bengals are going to seriously consider what their top priorities are. In my opinion their biggest areas of need are Safety, OG, and WR. You could also make an argument for DE or DT as well. However, given that there 4 of the top 10 rushers this year were guys picked outside the top 3 rounds (Foster, UFA; Turner, 5th; Bradshaw, 7th; Hillis, 7th), it doesn't seem logical to spend a high draft pick on a RB.
There it is - an argument for resigning Benson. What do you all think?