The Green Bay Packers are closing in on Cedric Benson, the veteran running back who "probably" will sign with the team, NFL.com and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Friday, citing a source with knowledge of the player's plans.
Benson has been linked to the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, among others, but the Packers make sense. Their backfield is an abyss. Benson isn't an ideal match, and we question if he fits in Green Bay's West Coast scheme, but the proven runner offers something different from what Packers coaches suffered through in Thursday night's preseason-opening loss to the San Diego Chargers.
James Starks, held up as the possible starter, pushed out a mere 16 yards on five carries and failed to develop any rhythm. His sample size was miniscule, but Starks and this group don't offer much in the way of pass blocking, either. You can lean heavy on Aaron Rodgers, but the passing game will suffer if nobody believes in the run.
Benson is walking around in street clothes because NFL teams aren't excited about what the 29-year-old has left in the tank, despite three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals, who cut ties with the veteran after last season.
Green Bay would like to wait until after Week 1 to sign Benson, removing the burden of any guaranteed money, but the market for free-agent backs is about to heat up as injuries mount. This is a clear indication the Packers aren't satisfied with their backfield, which comes as no surprise.