The Sun-Times reported that Cedric Benson underwent successful surgery on his fractured left leg Thursday. The operation was performed by team physicians Armen Kelikian and Mark Bowen.
The injury comes at a bad time for Benson, who finished the season with 674 rushing yards. Had he gained 27 more yards—or less than three extra yards per game this season—he would have triggered a conditional roster bonus in his contract in the amount of $1.73 million. It’s lost money now for the running back.
Benson, the fourth pick in the 2005 draft, has earned substantially less money than has been previously reported. His contract has always been said to contain $16 million in guaranteed money, which is accurate, but Benson has yet to activate $3.46 million of that in the form of two $1.73 million bonuses that were considered to be easily attainable. They could be achieved in a myriad of ways with minimum performance levels and play-time figures. But running behind Thomas Jones for two seasons, and now out for the remainder of the year and facing a long rehabilitation, it could wind up being money he never realizes.
From a team standpoint, it should clear up a little salary-cap space moving forward. For Benson, it’s motivation to push him through rehabilitation with one bonus at $1.73 million hanging in the balance for 2008. While Benson has reaped a fortune at $13.8 million through this season, it doesn’t approach the misspent figures that have come out.
Just as quarterback Rex Grossman said recently ``I’ve probably missed the boat on the big one,’’ referring to a lucrative free-agent contract, Benson’s ship has passed also. He’s not going to come close to approaching the maximum value of his contract at $29.96 million.
That doesn't mean the opportunity will not exist for him to come back and be productive, and ultimately justify his riches. Remember, Jerry Angelo stands by his draft picks.