Last Wednesday the Bengals signed former New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to a three-year contract. He will probably get a bulk of the team's carries in 2012. Green-Ellis' arrival all but guarantees that Cedric Benson, the Bengals primary back for the past four seasons won't be returning next season.
As of now, Benson remains on the free agent market and from the looks of it, there hasn't been a whole lot of activity going on for him. But wait, there is one team that is emerging that could have interest in signing Benson. And that team would be the Cleveland Browns.
It's not known how much interest the Browns actually have in Benson, but he's an option that the Browns aren't ruling out. But right now, it would appear as if he isn't a top priority as the Browns have more pressing needs to fill.
Cleveland has a hole at running back after losing Peyton Hillis to the Kansas City Chiefs early in free agency. Hillis was the primary back for the Browns for the past two seasons. As a whole the Browns rushing offense struggled. They were ranked 28th in the league by averaging only 95.7 yards per game.
Up to this point, the Browns have been relatively inactive during free agency. If Benson does wind up in Cleveland then the Bengals will square-off against their former running back two times next season.
Benson's time in Cincinnati has been marked with inconsistency. When he first arrived in 2008 he was a breath of fresh air as he gave the Bengals offense a jolt. He only played in 12 games, but he rushed for nearly 800 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the following three seasons Benson eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and rushed for at least five touchdowns. But his production has declined in each of those seasons.
His biggest downfall has been his ability to hang onto the ball. In the past two seasons Benson has fumbled the ball (12 times) nearly the same amount of times he has rushed for a touchdown (13 times). Benson has been criticized for his inability to create plays, burst through open lanes, and his inefficient pass-blocking skills.
Either way, Bengals fans are ecstatic to see him leave. And even though he isn't a top-tier running back, he would represent a significant upgrade for Cleveland.