Where Will They End Up? (RBs)

Even though the Chicago Bears have a great player in Matt Forte, they could use a change-of-pace back to lighten his load. What's the latest on the top RBs in free agency, including former Bears bust Cedric Benson? Scout.com's Adam Caplan has the goods on some offseason movement for the runners.

Brandon Jacobs

Possible Suitors: New York (N), Cincinnati, Denver

The Giants want Jacobs back and it seems like he wants to be back, but it will be costly. A league source told Scout.com that the team only has about $7-8 million currently in projected salary cap space, and the franchise tag number for running backs is $6.621 million. It appears the only way they'll be able to bring back Jacobs is to sign him to a long-term deal with a small cap number for 2009.

Should the Bengals ultimately pass on re-signing Cedric Benson, they'll need a solid power runner to handle the starting job and Jacobs fits that bill well.

Denver had seven backs on injured reserve in 2008, and none of them is seen as the featured back for 2009.

Most Likely Destination: New York. In the end, look for the team to find a way to bring back Jacobs into the fold for a while longer. He simply is way too important to their power running game.

Derrick Ward

Possible Suitors: New York (N), Cincinnati, New Orleans, Houston

The only way Ward would return to the Giants, it seems, is if the can't find a better role elsewhere. And with the team high on Ahmad Bradshaw, Ward's role could actually decrease if he re-signed with the G-Men.

Cincinnati could have an opening for a starter should they not bring back Benson. Ward offers terrific versatility, but because he turns 29 in late August, he may be only looking at a short-term deal.

Houston badly is looking for a back to complement Steve Slaton. Ward makes a lot of sense as a scheme fit and could help form a nice 1-2 punch with the younger back.

The Saints may be looking for a power back such as Ward if they decline to pick up veteran Deuce McAllister's $2 million roster bonus, which is believed to be due around the start of free agency.

Most Likely Destination: Houston or New Orleans. "Earth, Wind & Fire" likely has to break up in the Big Apple.

Cedric Benson

Possible Suitors: Cincinnati, New Orleans

Benson, a former high first-round draft pick of the Bears, was essentially out of the league after Chicago waived him in June. Cincinnati signed him late in September, more or less to take a look at him before the season ended. Benson wound up starting 10 games and set career highs in rushing yardage and receptions. A team source told Scout.com that the Bengals would like to re-sign him to be their starter.

The Saints worked Benson out prior to his signing with Cincinnati, so they may still have interest in him. Should McAllister not be back with the Saints, their interest level could increase in Benson. They'll be looking for a power back that could handle 10-12 carries a game.

Most Likely Destination: Cincinnati. The coaches seemed happy with his progress and he stayed out of trouble, so Benson could be back in a Bengal uniform soon.

Darren Sproles

Possible Suitors: San Diego, Detroit, Seattle

The Chargers would love to have Sproles back in the fold, but they'll be looking to find LaDainian Tomlinson's eventual replacement. So he's not likely to get big money from them to re-sign.

Detroit badly needs speed at the running back position, and Sproles would provide that. Plus, he could help on kickoff returns.

The Seahawks really need to add speed to their lineup, especially since veteran Maurice Morris may not be re-signed.

Most Likely Destination: Up in the air. More teams could be interested as free agency gets closer since he's the fastest back projected to be available. What makes Sproles also an attractive option is that he could fill a variety of roles.

Adam Caplan is the Senior NFL Reporter for Scout.com.


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