The Dayton Daily News is reporting that the Bengals are interested in working out a contract extension with bell-cow runningback Cedric Benson.
Benson, who finished 8th in the NFL in 2009 with 1,251 yards, is entering the final season of his current 2-year deal. After washing out in Chicago, Benson has done nothing but impress in the Queen City.
“Cedric is a guy who wants to work hard and push the other guys,” runningbacks coach Jim Anderson said. “He wants the other players to see that he’s a hard worker. I think that is indicative to how he plays the game.”
It can be argued that number 32 was the lone bright spot on offense last year, seemingly carrying the team to victories through his hard-nosed running style, power, speed, and persistence. This was perhaps best evidenced in the wild car loss to the Jets. While the defense wilted, the passing game sputtered, and Shayne Graham choked, Benson put in 169 hard-fought yards, including a big 47-yard run to keep the struggling cats within a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The article states that Benson’s representatives approached the team about a deal, and while the Bengals have been open to talks, no timetable has been established as yet.
It is the opinion of Bengals Gab that the team should work aggressively to lock up Benson now. He’ll come cheaper before training camp this year than he will after another 1300 yard season in 2010. If the Bengals continue to focus on the run (which they will), and continue to improve on the field (which they should), Benson will be a high-dollar commodity. Some will argue that the market for runningbacks isn’t what it used to be and that the current labor strife makes signing new contracts dicey. Our position is that we have a back that fits our offense perfectly, who practices hard and who wants to be here.
The team would be wise to step up to the plate now while both sides are amenable to a negotiation.