I spend a lot of time at a bar/restaurant in North Austin that stays open late. Sunday night, the manager informed me that RB Cedric Benson was in the house accompanied by a male friend.
Benson slouched at the bar, wasn't drinking (I think he's still on probation from some prior bar incidents), looked to be in excellent shape (a bigger man than I expected) and not in a very good mood.
If Benson is hanging out in a bar, it's because he's not presently in an NFL training camp. The three-time 1000-yd rusher and former Texas Longhorn is a free agent whom the rumor mill has linked to the Raiders, Jets and Packers although other reports claim the Raiders aren't interested.
Question: Could/Should the Broncos be interested?
The latest cap room published in June (before signing Prater and the draft picks) was still over $10 million so there ought to be room for a deal as long as we aren't spending all of it on Ryan Clady.
Pros: Exceptional, experienced power runner. McGahee is not apt to survive a 16-game season healthy and we can't really want Moreno or Hillman as our next option. Teams can't load the box on Benson as long as Peyton Manning is in the backfield. Has the ability to take over games when the rush is established to give opposing DCs another major weapon to worry about.
Cons: Average to below-average as a receiving threat. Unlikely to break long runs. Has had a few incidents with LEOs in the past so may need a little watching and support off the field.
My take: I think the need for a better second option after McGahee is genuine and he would be a quality upgrade. Once the Broncos know how much Clady will cost them and if there isn't an FA defensive tackle that doesn't make more sense to sign, I can see inking Benson on a one-year contract with incentives. It shouldn't be that tough to teach him the job and he's likely to be taken out for Hillman in obvious passing downs so he won't need to be too involved in the passing offense. I'd sure rather see him in Denver than Oakland.