At this point, no one really knows if BenJarvus Green-Ellis is going to be with the Bengals when the 2014 season opens. With younger, more explosive options in Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill and perhaps James Wilder, Green-Ellis doesn't offer enough to Cincinnati to warrant his $3 million salary
But what if he could provide something more than on-the-field production? What if he could help ensure Hill has a great career and lives up to his abilities, rather than fall back into his bad habits.
I was listening to an episode of the Football Guys Podcast when Cecil Lammey brought up an interesting point on keeping Green-Ellis. He said it was a good idea by the Bengals to have that kind of mentor for Hill, and then pointed out to several examples of players like Jacksonville's Justin Blackmon or Cleveland's Josh Brown: Talented players who didn't have good mentors coming up in the league.
Both of those players are now facing indefinite suspensions in 2014, and Hill has his fair share of transgressions in his past.
Before graduating high school, he was arrested on sexual assault charges.
In April of 2013, as he was arrested and charged with simple battery after being caught on video punching a man outside a bar near campus.
Having a guy like Green-Ellis to keep him on the straight and narrow could ultimately be more beneficial than cutting Green-Ellis and getting that extra roster spot while saving a few million dollars. Keeping the elder Green-Ellis would help ensure Hill has a long and productive career for the Bengals, and not fall into the path Blackmon and Gordon have found themselves on.
That said, there's a growing sentiment that Green-Ellis will eventually be cut, and for good reason. He's no longer needed in a loaded backfield, and the Bengals have plenty of vets to mentor Hill.
One other key reason Green-Ellis will be cut is his salary can be used better elsewhere. ESPN's Coley Harvey shares that belief, noting how cutting him will help Cincinnati throw more money at Andy Dalton and Vontaze Burfict to get them re-sign this year.
I'll say that if I had to guess I'd say that Green-Ellis will be cut before the season. By letting him go the Bengals will save $2.5 million in cap space this season; space that along with other cuts could help fund the contract extensions quarterback Andy Dalton and linebacker Vontaze Burfict are trying to get this offseason.
As of now, the Bengals can shed $2.5 million but cutting Green-Ellis, which would give them about $26 million in cap space based on the most recent cap numbers from the NFLPA.
If Dalton gets a deal that pays him at least $15-17 million annually to go with a deal for Burfict that pays him around $7-9 million, the Bengals will be forced to cut Green-Ellis and/or other vets.
So what say you?