Law Firm to Cincy.  (Ryan Wilson,
The Bengals were happy to let Cedric Benson walk in free agency but that didn't mean they were giving up on the power running game. Offensive balance was a big part of their success last season and it explains why, according to several reports, the team signed former Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to a three-year deal Wednesday.

Green-Ellis spent the first four years of his NFL career in New England, the last two as the team's primary back. In 32 games, he had 410 carries for 1,675 yards (4.1 YPC) and 23 touchdowns. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Ole Miss.

While the Bengals and Patriots have different offensive philosophies (just look how difficult it was for 11-year veteran Chad Ochocinco to pick up New England's playbook last season), Green-Ellis will likely reprise Benson's role in the backfield. Which is to say: he'll average 15-20 carries a game and keep defenses honest enough to allow Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to have a downfield passing game.

According to Football Outsiders' RB metric, Green-Ellis ranked 18th among all NFL backs last season and Benson was 45th (incidentally, ahead of Bernard Scott, who head coach Marvin Lewis said can expect more snaps in 2012). Meanwhile, wonders if Green-Ellis is "too limited to be a feature back."

The Patriots were reportedly interested in keeping The Law Firm in New England, but they also had the leverage in negotiations; the team drafted two running backs last April -- Shane Vereen in the second round and Stevan Ridley in the third -- and both are expected to contribute next season.

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