Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson may lure Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden to town this offseason in a move that would reunite the two sides from Jackson’s days on the West Coast.
Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times believes it is destiny that McFadden joins the Bengals via free agency:
As @JoshDubowAP said, Darren McFadden destined to sign w/ Cincy, be paired with Hue & Giovani Bernard, acquired with pick from Palmer trade.
— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) January 10, 2014
While the Bengals and owner Mike Brown are not known for making big splashes in free agency, this idea makes a ton of sense.
For one, McFadden is not in a position to demand a lofty contract as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He’s a big name, but he has yet to appear in a full 16-game season and has played in just 22 games the past two years.
McFadden would surely love to come to Cincinnati. Under Jackson in 2010, who acted as Oakland’s offensive coordinator at that point, McFadden posted career-best numbers with 223 carries for 1,157 yards and seven touchdowns — in 13 games.
The move makes sense for the Bengals financially if they want to upgrade on veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is scheduled to make a total of $2.5 million next year. McFadden’s price tag will cost the team much less.
It also makes a ton of sense schematically. McFadden’s violent running style prohibits his body from staying healthy as the workhorse in an offense. With the Bengals, McFadden will take up Green-Ellis’ role as the complement to starter Giovani Bernard.
Bengals fans are surely aware of the damage McFadden can do when healthy:
Pair McFadden in an offense that protects his body with the coach that produced his best year as a pro to date, and perhaps Corkran is on to something here. The addition of McFadden in Cincinnati is a cost-effective move with a high ceiling.
Jackson may upgrade the current offense through his play-calling, but his ability to lure a former player such as McFadden to town may put the Cincinnati offense over the top.