That the free-agent running back wants to do so with a large contract comes as no shock, but it also shouldn't be a surprise if the Bengals ultimately propose a far more modest deal in a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
Benson still holds reasonably good value to the Bengals, although it likely is much lower than where he places it. There would appear to be multiple factors working against his chances of landing anything close to a blockbuster salary. Here are the biggest:
» After being the centerpiece of a power-oriented offense in 2009, Benson was far from spectacular last season.
The running game will be important in the scheme of new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, but it probably won't mean that Benson or any other back is going to flourish in a grind-it-out attack. Gruden would like to incorporate the runner as a component in a scheme that has balance and has the quarterback often making high-percentage throws that act as running plays.
It's true that Palmer's insistence on being traded and threatening to retire if he's not dealt hardly makes a case for his presence to be welcome in the locker room. However, the Bengals and Palmer are still playing a game of who will blink first, and it's quite possible that Palmer will end up doing so. Despite making TCU quarterback Andy Dalton their second-round pick in the draft, the Bengals are still open to the possibility of Palmer returning. They're calling his bluff on retirement, and should he come back, his relationship with Benson would be more than a little strained.
The Bengals just might take that into consideration, thus giving them less incentive to give Benson all that much in a new contract -- if they make an offer.