Why The Oakland Raiders Aren't Courting Running Back Cedric Benson
Former first-round selection (fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas) and free agent running back Cedric Benson has been linked as a highly likely option this offseason for the Oakland Raiders.
While there are plenty of potential positives in a possible deal, it’s time to take a gander at the other side of the argument.
Couple the talent in camp already in place with limited cap space, and there are some cards stacked against a potential deal.
The speculation between Benson and Oakland began after the team’s depth out of the backfield was called into question when Michael Bush took his talents to the Chicago Bears, where Benson, who was on the open market, began his career.
During his four years with the Raiders, Bush served as a solid compliment and an insurance policy to Darren McFadden.
With the departure of Bush, the team is left to search for a viable backup.
In the event that McFadden suffers an injury, Marcel Reece would be the first player to receive an increased workload as a lead-blocker and change-of-pace option.
The fullback is already set to take on a heavier load in the upcoming season as the organization transitions to Greg Knapp’s offense.
When Reece enters the passing game, he becomes a deadly weapon out of the backfield, but with Benson on board, he stands to lose play time as well as potential.
Mike Goodson would be the next back to lose value with the addition of Benson.
Goodson was added earlier this offseason in a trade with the Panthers in exchange of OT Bruce Campbell.
If Benson were brought in, the move to get Goodson would inevitably push him down the depth chart and immediately make the trade the team made less lucrative.
Next on the list is last preseason’s standout player,Taiwan Jones. His progression would be delayed with the presence of Benson. In addition, with more experience, Jones has the potential to be able to fill in and eventually replace McFadden.
Salary cap has been another issue that has plagued the new regime as well. Benson, 29, would receive $825,000 if he agrees to the league minimum. However, he has said he doesn’t want the league minimum and would like a bigger contract instead.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen stated Sunday that the team is prepared to move forward with its current backups at tailback and wants to see what they have in Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones before making any veteran additions, per Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune.
Nevertheless, recent moves by the Raiders have provided some cap space.
- As Raider Nation Access Lead Analyst and Editor Oren Shiri points out, the Tyvon Branch contract extension put the organization $4.7 million under the cap. Shipping WR Louis Murthy (also to Carolina) added another $1,372,500.00 to put the club $6,072,500 under the cap, allowing additional moves to be made.
This could cause upgrades to take place in areas that need to be addressed more, like at linebacker and in the secondary.