No matter how you look at it, Cincinnati Bengals’ running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is on the backside of his NFL tenure. He just turned 29 and is coming off a 2013 season during which he recorded a career-low 3.4 yards per carry and just four receptions. In addition to his own productivity issues, The Law Firm also faces a roster full of hungry young backs as the Bengals entrench themselves in their summer training camp. Nevertheless, Coley Harvey reported on ESPN.com yesterday that at least one Begals honcho, running backs coach Kyle Caskey, thinks the veteran RB still brings a lot of value. As Caskey sees it,
Benny is still one of our guys and Benny is still getting the same amount of reps that Benny’s always gotten. Nothing’s been taken away from Benny.
(Parenthetical note: what’s with all the “Benny”s? Anyone else feel like we just slid into an episode of Seinfeld? “
Jimmy Benny is pretty sweet on you. Jimmy Benny would like to get to know you. Check out Jimmy Benny.”)
The rest of Harvey’s piece is filled with similar niceties from Caskey and Bengals teammates, relating that Green-Ellis is a “pro’s pro” and can impart a heap of wisdom to the young guns trying to push him off the roster. Regardless of Caskey’s endorsement, it’s hard to see a way that Green-Ellis makes the roster as things currently stand. It would be very hard to justify carrying a $2.3-million third-string back as the Bengals try to get over the playoff hump in quarterback Andy Dalton’s fourth season, so I fully expect Green-Ellis to be sent packing.
As Mike Florio points out at ProFootballTalk, though, Green-Ellis may yet find a home as a starter, at least in a short-term capacity. Florio nods to the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers as possible destinations, thanks to injury and holdouts, and other openings are bound to arise as teams work through the rigors of their own camps. If no suitable trade market emerges, though, the Bengals best move might be an outright release.
It’s time for the backfield, and the team, to move on, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis looks to be a part of the Bengals’ past, not their future.