Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Thanks For Everything BenJarvus Green-Ellis, No Really
It is only fair that we salute BenJarvus Green-Ellis, one of the most underrated Patriots of the last four seasons, as he heads out to his new NFL home: the Cincinnati Bengals.
BenJarvus or "StackJarvus" (since he gets stacked up often) as my buddies like to call him has never been known for his long runs or electrifying highlights. However, you could always count on him to get a positive gain and most importantly, never fumble the ball. That's right, between his college career at Mississippi and his four seasons in New England (53 games, 510 carries), he never had a fumble. That's insane.
He made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2008 and over time, he beat out first-round bust Laurence Maroney and a broken-down Fred Taylor. He was a touchdown machine, quiet, dependable and he had no ego whatsoever which is what made him a quintessential Patriot.
His best season was 2010 when he got his first chance to be the feature back. Green-Ellis gained 1008 rushing yards on 229 carries (4.4 yards per carry) with 13 touchdowns. Last season, he had to split time with Danny Woodhead and rookie Stevan Ridley so Green-Ellis had worse numbers (181 carries, 667 rushing yards, 3.7 yards per carry, 11 touchdowns).
With Ridley expected to get more carries, not to mention Shane Vereen (who basically did nothing last season as a rookie) and Woodhead still being around, it makes perfect sense for BenJarvus to head to the Bengals. He gets a three-year deal, something I'm sure the Patriots didn't want to do and with Cedric Benson still a free agent, Green-Ellis will likely be the No. 1 running back on a team that went to the playoffs in 2011.
I hate nicknames for professional athletes but The Law Firm was definitely on my very short list of favorites. He was a good player and seemed like a decent guy that didn't take anything for granted. In other words, all you can ask for from someone on the team you root for. Best of luck in Cincinnati BenJarvus!
I'd love to see the Patriots bring in free agent Michael Bush to replace Green-Ellis. They don't need another rookie running back, that's for sure. Obviously, they'll need another body or two since I'm 99% sure that Kevin Faulk will retire at some point this offseason.
The other player to leave Foxborough today was defensive end Mark Anderson, who cashed in on a nice season in 2011 (10 sacks) to the tune of a four-year deal in Buffalo worth $27 million with $8 million guaranteed. This is a guy who has bounced around, the Bills will be his fourth team in seven years so I'm not surprised at all that he wants to get paid.
Good for him, the Pats basically took a flyer on him and he definitely overachieved for what anybody could have expected in his only season for New England. The only thing that I care about now is that New England either re-signs defensive end Andre Carter, sign somebody else that can get after the quarterback (one of their biggest weaknesses) or draft somebody in the first round that is all about sacks (unlikely since they never go that route).
Veteran cornerback Will Allen, formerly of the Dolphins (2006-11) and Giants (2001-05) was the one player that was added to the Patriots today. He's 33 so he might not make the team but I'm all for bringing in a guy with experience since New England has almost all young guys in one of the most important positions-cornerback.