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Is Cedric Benson Untouchable, Even for the Cardinals?

First off, I know the reasons that I shouldn't even bring up this kids' name in connection with the Cardinals, but by now we all the that the Bears cut /released Cedric Benson. He's obviously got issues both on and off the field. Effectiveness on the field mixed with multiple run-ins with the law off the field is most likely enough for teams to stay away from a character like Cedric Benson. I personally wouldn't be in favor of bringing the guy in, but since I've brought up nearly every other running back who's on the market (Jones and Jordan), I'll make a weak case as to why the Cardinals should at the very least, take a look at him.

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Depth: If  you're new to ROTB, you might not be familiar with my main concern at the running back position: I have little to no faith in Shipp or Arrington. Neither of them offers much when they come into game, in my opinion. For everything that Benson hasn't been during his three seasons as a pro, an uneffective #2 back isn't on of them. He played sparingly as a rookie, based largely on injuries, but had his best season in 2006 when he was backing up Thomas Jones. His 4.1 yards per carry in 2006 and 3.8 yards per carry for his career might not sound like much but Shipp hasn't averaged better than three yards per carry since 2003 and Arrington's career average is 3.1.

Youth: Benson's about the same age as Arrington, which means he's some 5 years younger than Shipp and Edge. So, could the case be made that he's still developing and could eventually become a not only a productive player but also a respectable human being? Certainly, but no one knows for sure. This is still the same guy who was the 4th overall pick just three years ago.

Price: The market for Benson will likely be very scarce meaning that it's very possible he'll have to sign a small contract that is built mostly on incentives. That might be enticing the Cardinals front office considering that the duo of Shipp and Arrington will cost nearly $3 million dollars combined this season.


Production: Obviously anyone who signs Benson and expects him to be a 1,000 yard back or average five yards a carry, will be sorely mistaken. Benson's proven that he'll likely never be a featured back. Is it worth bringing in a 'trouble maker' who doesn't have a high ceiling? That's a question that I can't answer.

Suspension: Anyone who even looks in Benson's direction will have to be prepared for him being suspended for at least the first four games. Again is that something that the Cardinals can live with?

Injury Prone: In three seasons, he's yet to play a full season and in total has missed 13 games despite not carrying the ball over 200 times in any season. In just three seasons he's accumulated two knees injuries, a shoulder, a forearm and an ankle injury. Two of those injuries were season ending.

Locker Room Influence: To be honest, I have no idea what kind of kind of guy he is inside a locker room, but I'd imagine he won't be instantly embraced by new team mates. Especially he if he is replacing a veteran player who has worked his tail off to make the team each season after being an undrafted free agent (Shipp).

I'm sure I'll probably get blasted for even mentioning this guys name but I'd imagine a few teams inquire about his services. Still though, a team with an accomplished, veteran running back who could mentor him while at the same time have little invested in him might be interested. So if the price was right, would you even give him a chance or is he kryptonite? Would be excited, disappointed or somewhere in between if your Arizona Cardinals signed Cedric Benson?

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