Top running back options for Bengals

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
12:00
PM ET
Up until Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals were a lock to make a very strong run to keep pending free-agent tailback Cedric Benson. The proposed 72-hour window for teams to re-sign their own free agents made Benson to the Bengals an even stronger possibility.

But Benson's arrest this past weekend for alleged assault of a family member puts his status with Cincinnati in doubt. If guilty, Benson could be facing an early season suspension from the NFL and, thus, wouldn't be able to help the Bengals to start the season.

As Bengals ownership and head coach Marvin Lewis re-evaluate their tailback situation behind closed doors, here is a look at other top free-agent running backs:

Michael Bush, 27, Oakland Raiders

Skinny: Bush is one of the NFL’s top backups who is now looking for a starting job. He rushed for 655 yards and eight touchdowns for Oakland last season with limited opportunities. Unlike many free-agent tailbacks, Bush will come to his new team with fresh legs.

Ronnie Brown, 29, Miami Dolphins

Skinny: With just one 1,000-yard season in six years, the former No. 2 overall pick has been a draft bust for Miami. Brown is hitting the open market coming off arguably his worst season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry in 2010.

DeAngelo Williams, 28, Carolina Panthers

Skinny: Williams is a very good running back. But he's coming off a major foot injury and is nearing the age when players decline at that position. Teams looking to sign Williams to a huge, long-term deal need to take that into consideration.

Ahmad Bradshaw, 25, New York Giants

Skinny: Bradshaw is arguably the most dangerous and versatile running back in free agency. The Giants are expected to make a strong push to keep their home-run hitter off the market.

Unless the Bengals are confident in backup Bernard Scott, they will need to find a starting running back in free agency. If Cincinnati now decides to stay away from Benson, will the team sign any of these aforementioned players?

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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