CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
At last report the Cincinnati Bengals were talking with free agent running backs, including Cedric Benson, to upgrade a position that's lacking that power back that could carry the load of the running game, supported by Bernard Scott and third-down back Brian Leonard.
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, contract negotiations with Benson are "going slow".
Benson and the Bengals are still not in the ballpark when it comes to contract numbers, which seems to be a recurring theme in other negotiations with running backs.
As PFT points out the market for free agent running backs is flat, with guys like Marion Barber and Willis McGahee receiving "deals in the range of $2.5 million per year" with names like Ahmad Bradshaw, Ronnie Brown, Jason Snelling, Clinton Portis and Ricky Williams still available.
This supports the theory authored by Mr. Obvious that other NFL teams just aren't interested in Benson, who could face discipline from the league due to a pending assault charge earlier this month; and that's not to say he wouldn't face jail time if he's found guilty. As Joe points out, the Bengals are also still looking at free agency, though they have until Tuesday to sign free agents to get them in Training Camp by August 4, the start of the new league year and when free agents can start practicing with their teams.
If the Bengals eventually sign Benson, it won't be before other free agent running backs sign, allowing the team to prove to Benson that his demands (whatever they are) aren't comparable to veteran free agent running backs. When you add things like a possible league suspension, two pending assault charges and a disappointing 2010 season, it would be surprising if Benson received anything close to what he thinks he's worth.