Chicago Sun-Times

Cutting Benson would create no savings for Bears

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Surely, the Bears are still in an information-gathering mode when it comes to Cedric Benson.

Two days after his arrest on Lake Travis near Austin, Texas, there are vastly different stories being told by the running back and the Lower Colorado River Authority. The NFL, no doubt, is also looking into the matter. While Benson is not in danger of being zapped like Tank Johnson was with an eight-game suspension last year, commissioner Roger Goodell can hand out one-game suspensions like others give out Halloween candy. They’re not tough to get.

Cutting bait with Benson is not going to create any kind of savings for the Bears in terms of the salary cap. None at all.

Benson’s salary-cap figure for 2008 is $3.335 million and if the Bears cut him before June 1 and do not exercise an option to spread the dead money over two seasons, the hit for this year would be roughly $6 million. That would be cutting a sizeable slice into the pie that’s meant to go to Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Robbie Gould and others in the form of longterm extensions.

If the Bears did a post-June 1 cut, or cut him now and had the money go on the books as a post-June 1 cut, they would still be on the books for more than $2.5 million this season when subtracting out his base pay of $820,000 for 2008.

However, Benson’s contract contains a conditional injury guarantee for that base pay and he could claim his release was due to the broken left leg suffered last November against Denver. Of course, the team could claim he was healthy and off the parties could go into a grievance that would drag on and on. The guarantee, in effect, would mean he would cost the team the full $3.335 million against the camp whether he’s on the roster or not this season. You'd have to like the chances of a running back in a hearing who can show he's had a plate and screws inserted into his leg and ankle.

In 2009, Benson’s cap number is $3.535 million, and his base pay climbs to $1,020,000. That base pay includes a partial guarantee of $910,000 in he event of injury, but that’s only for an injury occurring in the prior contract year. So, it would not apply here, but the remaining $2.515 million would be dead money vs. the cap in 2009.

So, however you want to slice it, whether Benson is a Bear or not, he will count against the salary cap. Sending him away isn’t going to create any savings at all.

And let me throw this one out there ... the ongoing discussions with Harris, Hester and Gould are well documented. The Bears had discussions with representatives for all three players in advance of the draft. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but the Bears have had a way in the past of finding some good news to trump bad P.R.

There would be no faster way to steal headlines away from the running back who has 10 career touchdowns to show for a McCaskey investment of $13.8 million thus far than to trot Harris or Hester out in front of a Halas Hall podium and sing the praises of a longterm contract.

Stay tuned.

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28 Comments

Put him the I.R. Then see if this guy is ready to play. Heck putting him on the I.R. might make hime retire due to injury. If he does retire because of injury he will still get paid. Not sure if then there would be a cap hit.

At this point it time to cut bait, it might not be a good idea to have this guy in the locker room. You would not want to have a potential cancer in the locker room, after last season the last time they need is a distraction like a player would never lived up to his potential and was a problem from day 1 his own team mates did not like him he walked off the sideline during a game, he is just bad news and it's good he gave the Bears a way out that could save a little face.

Can't the Bears go after Benson for more money if they cut him because of him being arrested, something that the Falcons got out of Vick? Or does it have to be a special case where the player is missing season(s) for being locked up?

The Bears might lose some cap space (though I think you are over-reporting the cap hit), but they would save actual dollars by cutting Benson. I think the article confuses cap dollars from actual dollars the Bears have to spend, and it also confuses cap numbers and cap hits. I'll try to clarify.

The 2008 cap NUMBER for Benson reflects his 2008 salary ($0.8M) plus the 2008 portion of his prorated signing bonus ($2.5M). The cap HIT is any additional money the Bears would lose from their cap space this year if they cut him (note that the Bears 2008 cap space of 16 mil INCLUDES Benson's current cap number of $3.3M). His cap HIT would be this years cap NUMBER of $3.3M minus this year's salary of $0.8M (because they wouldn't have to pay it or account for it in the cap) plus next year's portion of his signing bonus ($2.5M), for a total cap HIT of $1.7M.

So if the Bears cut Benson, they'd lose $1.7M of cap room, BUT (this is important) they would have him off the books for next year. If they don't cut him, he will have a cap number of around $3.5M again next year. So they would lose a small amount of room in this year's cap number, but they would get back twice as much next year, when they might need it more.

Lastly, while cutting Benson would cause a small loss in cap space this year (again, it would add even more cap space next year), they could save themselves actual dollars by cutting him. As long as he can pass a physical, the Bears can cut him (and maybe his recent arrest will allow them to cut him anyways, I'm not sure). If they cut him, they don't have to pay him his salaries this year and next (total of $1.9M), OR have to potentially pay him any escalators if he gains over 700 yards (another $3 or 4 mil). That $6M is actual money the McCaskeys could divert to Harris, Hester or Gould (ie players who actually help the team).

The Bears already made a mistake by picking Benson and giving him $13M. The bigger mistake, imo, would be knowing what you have in Benson and STILL giving him another $5 or 6 million. At least when they drafted him they thought he'd be good. Now they know he isn't. Accept your mistake and move on.

I hope for the Bears sake they understand the cap better than whoever wrote the above article.

You cut him now, you risk losing players next season. It's that simple.

And Benson is a lot of things, but he isn't a cancer. He pouts, but he minds his own business.

The best option is to try and trade him -- although that would generate a cap hit as well -- or to just urge him to plead out and have the matter handled by training camp.

He may still have something he can offer next season -- maybe short yardage, if not more. You don't cut him before you know.

Damn,
Wait till we see if he runs better this year ok?
4th pick You KNOW someones going to pick him up and if he runs good he will make the Bears look silly.
Besides the last time we had good ground game was with 2 RB's - Jones/Benson I am looking for more in Forte/Benson.

It`s nice that the guy can be a complete f-in tool, and still get paid. It`s time to let Benson go, and watch him try to re-start his career somewhere else. I still can`t believe that we let Thomas Jones go so we could have Cedric!! Hopefully Matt Forte will be a better draft choice and player than Enis, Salaam, Benson ever were.

Well if it won't save any money, than cutting him can certainly save people from ulcers, headaches,rage,and heartburn,(amongst other health issues), unless the Bears organization is in cahoots with the healthcare industry than keeping benson would be a marvelous concept.

I'm with you it ain't all about the dollars. If we can get some thunder and lightning action going with the rookie and Wolfe then we can get back to winning. Who cares about the cap room when we have twelve wins in December. We gotta pay him, so what, he is worthless on the field. Cut him, bench him, or stick him on unable to perform but do not put the PIRATE on the field. Drunk on the boat Ced, you can't suck on the and screw up off the field.

I log online to the suntimes and 3 options regarding Benson:
1. Cut him, enough is enough
2. Nothing until all the information is in
3. Give him another chance like Tank Johnson

I am so glad that at least 42% of the people in Chicago have a brain and decided to wait until ALL the information is in. I seriously worry about the rest of you. Its funny how "we" have this MOB mentality to jump on the kid to cut him or even compare him to Tank Johnson. Tank Johnson! CMON...Tank had an arsenal, Ced had a few brews. "I guess THEYRE all the same huh." It ridiculous. Austin Texas police are horrible and would stop a guy in dreads on a boat. Its hilarious. Would they have stopped a person in another from another "demographic." In my opinion Ced probably did resist arrest, but the problem is the police harrassing a guy in a boat. Was he swerving in the water? Why even stop the guy? That is the question in my mind! Keep Ced, we need him.............

Hallas Hall needs to cut benson.He's a bust and even if he dose do good with another team,He didnt do good for us!What is with players? they make millions a year and cant stop smokin wacky tobbaccy or drinking for a while? they can stop playing at 32 and do what ever they want?

Try for some type of trade but cut Benson if you can't trade him. Also the Bears need another proven NFL back and Lamont Jordan might be available for a trade with the Raiders. Lamont is the real deal, he can run and catch out of the backfield. Lets face it many very good players did not do well with Mr. Davis in Oakland including some fabulous running backs. I do not believe that Lamont was a cancer on the Raiders team last year, his style just did not fit the system of Lane Kiffin and big AL.

Guys & Gals,

These infractions of his are really quite minor league stuff. The way everyone is carrying on, one would think he'd committed armed robbery.

Every boat I've ever been on, involved partying. The police can be very provocative in these situations. If Cedric is telling the truth here, then his attorney will make the Police/DA look very silly.

I thought he was playing well, when I last saw him on the field.

I hope he plays this season and competes with our new running back.

Go Bears!

I log online to the suntimes and 3 options regarding Benson:
1. Cut him, enough is enough
2. Nothing until all the information is in
3. Give him another chance like Tank Johnson

I am so glad that at least 42% of the people in Chicago have a brain and decided to wait until ALL the information is in. I seriously worry about the rest of you. Its funny how "we" have this MOB mentality to jump on the kid to cut him or even compare him to Tank Johnson. Tank Johnson! CMON...Tank had an arsenal, Ced had a few brews. "I guess THEYRE all the same huh." It ridiculous. Austin Texas police are horrible and would stop a guy in dreads on a boat. Its hilarious. Would they have stopped a person in another from another "demographic." In my opinion Ced probably did resist arrest, but the problem is the police harrassing a guy in a boat. Was he swerving in the water? Why even stop the guy? That is the question in my mind! Keep Ced, we need him.............

Do you guys understand that cutting Benson before June 1st will have severe ramifications in signing Hester, Harris, and Urlacher (extension)?

I really don't understand why cutting Benson is even being discussed. Did he shoot someone? Did he rape someone? He drove a boat while drinking and cops roughed him up, perhaps due to his own actions, maybe not. But geez, everyone is going a little over board with the reaction. This isn't that big of a story, and it certainly isn't bigger than Briggs crashing his Lambo and leaving the scene, likely because he was drinking. Did people scream to cut him? No, they screamed, "Sign him to a long term deal." Your punishment for your actions should be based on your actions, not your on field play. To cut Benson would be a completely absurd. Arguing to cut him, is equally absurd. Leonard Little KILLED someone while drinking and driving and then got another DUI!!!! And he still plays for the Rams...Ray Lewis was tied to a murder, he still plays for the Ravens. Cedric gets a BWI and you want him cut?!?!?!? Give me a break.

And will all Bear fans please stop mentioning Garret Wolfe as an option at RB. He's not an NFL RB, he's not even close and I couldn't think of a worse way to waste a 3rd round draft pick than on Garret Wolfe.

With all the talk about how bad Benson performed, his numbers weren't that different from the one he replaced. If anyone wants to take a look at Thomas Jones' numbers, they look remarkably similar to Benson's. It's more about the lack of holes the line opened up for the running back than his lack of production. The Bears have tried to address this problem and hopefully it will make a difference in the running game. The Bears should definately keep Benson to rotate with Forte this coming season. It's a long season and NFL running backs seem to get hurt a lot. Who knows if Forte would last an entire season. Bear fans, Benson is going to be a Bear next year. Get used to it.

The problem with Ced, is that he only cares about Ced. He created problems in his first season with the hold out. In year #2, he didnt have enough time to stay for an entire pre-season game while injured on the sidelines. In year #3, when given the controls, he just flamed out. He had what, 2 decent games out of what, 13?? The San Diego Charges were calling him "soft" in game #1. Taunting him all game. Did he respond??? Nope.. Flattened three straight times and failed to gain 1 yard on the series. He looked out of shape and just slow.

He has no vision and no cutback ability. He just puts his head down and stumbles for his 3.0 yard average. Plus he cannot pass block (at all) and has no hands for the passing game. Adrian Peterson comes in and look out... Can catch,,,can pass block and he woke up the running game. Some great college players cannot make the transition to the NFL.. Ced is one of those guys. He better show up to camp in great shape and have some hunger in his eyes to pound the ball... I am about tired of this guy and all the distractions he brings..

Yeah, I agree with Brandon!!! If you are going to kill someone or be accused of a major felony, make sure you are pro bowl material. You hear me Ced!!! Go to the pro bowl and then you can rape and pillage!!!! AHHHHHRRRRRRRR!!!!

See you on America's team!!!!!

Brandon, you forgot Marvin Harrison...no wait he's a pro bowler...thats why they wont cut him.

Heres the thing Benson is not a good running back period what where we last in the league in rushing last year in my eyes he was not worth the number 4 pick in 05 why would you keep a guy who just doesnt produce on the feild for you Matt Forte will be the guy this year and Benson will just be another bust to add to a list with Enis and all the others

Why can't the Bears go after him for violating the terms of his contract? I can't believe that they have absolutely no recourse no matter how badly a player behaves. His conduct reflects poorly on the organization - you or I would be fired for these charges.

God it stinks with most of the Chicago media and fans wanting to dump Benson and then going on and on about the great dancing man, Thomas Jones. Benson has not been convicted and we all know Jones sucked last year in NY with a better O-line than the BEARS. It's a never ending thing in Chicago to be negative about the team. Get over the crap and start supporting the team maybe?

Wow it must have been a really slow news day in Chicago sports. I counted at least 5 articles on Cedric Benson. Yes, he messed up and yes he had a really bad year last year, but that's not reason enough to cut him at this point. Some of the other blogs pointed out others have done far worse and are still in the league. Also, Adrian Peterson started several games after Benson was hurt and averaged the same sorry 3.4 yards per carry in 46 less carries, and fumbled one less time. I don't consider myself a big fan of Benson and was disappointed when they drafted him, but he is getting a raw deal here. The offensive line was pretty bad last year when looking at the running game as a whole and how many times the quarterbacks were sacked and harassed. If they cut him they are in the same position as last season. Having an unproven starter and no real alternative to back him up. I will be surprised if Garrett Wolfe is still in the league next year. He went down whenever anyone was close to him last year. They could have used that third round pick on lineman or receiver last year who would have had a year under his belt and could have contributed this year or at least a running back within 20 pounds of 200. It's poor drafting and bad personnel decisions that have the Bears in the position they are in now. Last years draft set this team back a year and getting rid of and letting go several safeties and defensive tackles the last two years ended up forcing the Bears to redraft those positions instead of drafting for other positions they needed replacements for. Letting Benson go at this point, unless he is really a cancer to the team, would just weaken the team again without anyone proven to take his place. I like Forte, but we don't know at this point how good he will be. Let's wait until we find out what happened and see how Benson reacts and if we apologizes for making a bad decision before we make rash decisions.

Look, plain and simple, Ced put himself in the position for something like this to happen. He was on a 30 ft boat with 10-12 people on board partying.(Anyone happen to remember the Vikings incident) Maybe he should have thought of having a driver who wasn't intoxicated? I'm pretty sure he could have hired one for the day, he surely has made enough money from the Bears. And you know what, he blows ass!!! He has zero tred left on his flat tires. He was severly over-used in college yet Lovie wanted him anyway. Bust, Bust, Bust, I dont care if he gets in trouble or not he still sucks and will never amount to shi#, because he obviously doesnt care.. Hmmm sounds like Ricky Williams who Benson swore he would never be like. And everybody is forgetting he will more than likely be suspended or at the least be put on the NFL's substance abuse list. Next strike and the NFL will take action and then the Bears would be on ther hook for all the money. Cut Bensen the Bust now!!!!!!!

brando, my figures were right, i said it would be a $5.5M hit if they cut him this year and was off by a mere 500K. not quite sure where you got that info that the bears already paid $2M in bonus money this year as he had no roster bonus due to him and missed out on a (pathetically low) contract incentive whereby he would've received $1.73M for getting 701 yards.

I guess Sirius radio was wrong Dan. Dan Alot of the info that I post is from Sirius. If I could play audio Dan, on this blog I would play it back for you people. If you want to know Dan The info came from Tim Ryan. And also Dan I didnt post any numbers on the blog at all. That was kinda out of left field Dan. Was that you Dan on another blog that I had wrote that. I do remember Dan that I did post numbers and I said Dan, that there were made up numbers. Its cool though Dan. Im not mad at ya Dan.
Have a wonderful day Dan.

Guy's Gal's you must have been on the boat with Ced "You thought he played good when you seen him last year" Pluease!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 5, 2008 12:27 PM.

Benson proclaims innocence, vows to "rise to the occasion" was the previous entry in this blog.

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