The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to rely more on the running game this season, but they won’t be counting on veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis. According to Ian Rapaport, the Bengals released The Law Firm and his big salary on Friday:
Former #Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis was due $2.3M this year, which proved too much considering the youth there. $700K in dead money.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2014
Aside from his steep cap hit, age and productivity also likely factored against Green-Ellis in the Bengals’ decision. He saw a precipitous decline in productivity last season and turned 29 in July, so he’s likely heading toward the end of his NFL career.
As Jason Marcum at Cincy Jungle points out, the Bengals will likely carry four back, and Green-Ellis’ release means the quartet is probably Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead.
Obviously, Green-Ellis’ NFL future is unclear at this point, but there is a good chance that he’ll get picked up by another team at some point this season. Football players are injuries waiting to happen, and the next RB opportunity is just one misstep away, so Green-Ellis will be bandied about until he lands a new gig.
Given his history and decent relationship with the Bengals, it would not be a shock to see Green-Ellis back in the Cincy fold later on if no other opportunities arise and the Bengals lose one or more their backs to injury. Regardless, it speaks well of the Bengals’ depth that they are able to part with a back of The Law Firm’s pedigree.