On Monday I wrote that the Bears should stick with there current roster of running backs after releasing Cedric Benson. Oh what a difference two days can make. A variety of NFL running backs looking for a home have made themselves available to the Bears and are hoping to get a chance at a roster spot.
The short list of candidates includes former Detroit Lion Kevin Jones, former Seattle Seahawk Shaun Alexander, former Denver Bronco Travis Henry, former Houston Texan Ron Dayne, and current Oakland Raider LaMont Jordan. The Bears organization hasn’t given us any indication they are on the market for a new running back. The hype is the result of Kevin Jones expressing his desire to suit up for the Bears so he can get back on the field. Jones has been working out for several NFL teams to show them he has recovered from his torn ACL but no one is biting. Even when he was healthy, he showed some flashes of talent but could never stay consistent on the field. It appears to be a replacement of Benson in terms of running ability to could be a mistake for the Bears. Jones has been in the league four years and the Bears have had plenty of time to scout him as a Lions running back to decide if they like his style.
I don’t even know where to begin with the rest of the candidates. Shaun Alexander was over-hyped as an MVP and the Bears should avoid his fall to obscurity. Travis Henry has more than enough legal problems to keep the Bears from even entertaining him for a workout. Ron Dayne showed some life in Houston but I don’t see how he would fit into an offense built to utilize speed. If the Bears did bring in Dayne he could fill a void needed for a bone crushing goal line back, so there is an outside possibility.
LaMont Jordan is currently under contract with the Raiders but they are looking to get rid of him and are afraid he will sign with the Broncos or Kansas City Chiefs if released. Jordan is due $4.7 million this season and $5 million next season so any trade talks would scare off a Bears organization looking to save up salary cap room. I’m also very concerned about the Warren Sapp interview, highlighted in the Raiders blog, JustBlogBaby, and can be seen here: Sapps got no love
I will be the first to admit that Sapp runs his mouth, but he’s also a veteran defensive tackle that lasted many years in the league and knows a good running back from a bad one. He commented that Jordan is one of the softest running backs he has ever seen. Coupled with scouting reports that Jordan does not work hard in practice and has been asked by coach Lane Kiffin to stay away from practice, I doubt he’s in very good football shape.
Put it all together and it appears that the Bears should avoid the running back market like the plague. The whole crop carries too much baggage that counter acts the Bears releasing of Benson. The only two I would consider are Kevin Jones and Ron Dayne and both are inconsistent runners that failed to meet expectations. Sounds exactly like the guy that just left town. If the Bears were eager to grab either back the organization would buzzing about the possibility, but as for now they are silent.
The current third string running back is Garrett Wolfe, drafted two years ago with a lot of promise as the 4th player in division 1-A history to rush for over 1,500 yards for three straight seasons. He has been compared to Warrick Dunn as a small, speedy back that is hard to tackle in the open field. The Bears designed a package of plays just for him, but he was never able to showcase much of his ability on the field. Benson and Adrian Peterson were never able to establish a solid running game to incorporate Wolfe into the mix. As a result, his position on the roster was shaky with the drafting of Matt Forte and could be in doubt if the Bears invite a new running back to training camp. For now his job appears to be fairly secure.