It seems the Bears are finally coming to their senses and realizing that Cedric Benson is not, in fact, any good at football. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lovie Smith spent Monday having lunch with Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. The Bears, who have the No. 14 pick in April’s draft, are apparently showing lots of interest in both the Razorback ball carriers. The problem is, if they really want McFadden, they’re going to have to trade up into the top-five to get him.
The larger point is that the Bears have finally realized it was a huge mistake to take Benson with the No. 4 pick in the 2005 draft. With players like Demarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman and Jammal Brown on the board, the Bears grabbed a straight-ahead running back with no burst and lots of mileage on his legs. He then had a protracted holdout before signing a five-year, $35 million contract ($17 million guaranteed). They already had Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson (the other one), and had plenty of other holes, but they went with Benson. Interesting choice. Shockingly, they’re now disappointed with the pick. It’s not hard to see why.
In three injury-riddled seasons, Benson has had just 420 carries for 1,593 yards (3.8 average) and just 10 touchdowns. He’s touched the ball just 447 times in the NFL and gained a total of 1,773 yards. In 11 games last season as the “feature back” he ran for just 674 yards and four touchdowns while fumbling three times. That was good enough for a robust 61.3 yards per game. He also has just two career 100-yard games.
If you only consider the $17 million in guaranteed money, here is what the Bears have paid Benson for so far:
- $10,671.68 per rushing yard.
- $40,476.19 per carry at a 3.8 ypc average.
- $38,116 per touch.
- $1.7 million per touchdown.
Yeesh. Now I understand why Chicago fans are so angry all the time. Looks like Benson is about to go the way of the other stellar offensive players the Bears have snagged in the first round. Here’s a little list for you: Rex Grossman (2003), Marc Colombo (2002), David Terrell (2001), Cade McNown (1999), Curtis Enis (1998), Rashaan Salaam (1995) and Stan Thomas (1991).