Packers sign Cedric Benson
When it came down to whether to sign Cedric Benson, a back with no home and a slightly shady past, or Ryan Grant, who'd put in many years with the team, the Packers chose Benson. The rumor is that the team was worried Grant wouldn't be able to live up to expectations and wanted to keep him from suffering the indignity of being released.
Benson spent the off-season as a free agent and didn't get the call to camp til late, but he says he's in shape and looking forward to becoming the second back in the Packers' rotation, behind James Starks. Of course, Starks is suffering from turf toe, meaning that right now Benson is looking at a starting role. Fullback John Kuhn left practice this week with a sprained ankle, leaving the Packers to rely on Benson, undrafted rookies Marc Tyler Nic Cooper and second year Alex Green, who's coming back from resconstructive knee surgery.
The signing makes sense for the Packers - the details haven't been released, but the rumor is that it's for one year at league minimum. There's virtually no risk for that Packers on a back who has put up three 1,000 yard seasons.
Though the Packers were once known as a run-heavy offense, having MVP Quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the field means the Packers ran the ball less than most teams in the league, despite often having the lead. Still, Benson hopes to be able to add another 1,000 yard season to his resume.
What they didn't report in the Journal-Sentinel is that Benson is also telling reporters that he came to Green Bay to win a Super Bowl. He reportedly turned down an offer from the Raiders, a team not expected to compete.
Benson is an eight-year league veteran but is still only 29. There looks to be a bit more explosiveness left in him than in Ryan Grant, which likely helped the Packers make their decision.
Because he didn't sign til Sunday, Benson won't likely play in this week's Thursday pre-season game, meaning his first Packers action will be against the team that released him, the Cinicinnati Bengals in two weeks.