With the Bengals recently promoting Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator, there has been speculation circulating around the Internet that Cincinnati could be a potential landing spot for soon-to-be free agent RB Darren McFadden.
McFadden has had a number of disappointing seasons with the Raiders and it appears as though a return to Oakland is unlikely at best. McFadden’s most productive stretch came under Hue Jackson, in which he ran for 1,771 yards (5.27 YPC) and 11 touchdowns over the course of 20 games.
Jackson was asked about the possibility of signing McFadden this offseason.
“You guys know how I feel about Darren McFadden; he’s still one of my favorite players,” Jackson said, via ESPN.com. “What a tremendous talent. But I really like my little guy Gio [Bernard]. He had a real good season. But I don’t think you can ever have too many good backs.”
One of the major concerns with McFadden is the number of injuries that have forced him to miss 29 games since entering the NFL six years ago. On top of that, his yards-per-carry have dropped off considerably in the Raiders new offensive scheme, which means there is a very good chance he’ll be forced to sign a modest contract this offseason.
As for the practicality of the Bengals signing McFadden, they will have over $25 million in cap space to work with next season, according to Overthecap.com. Gio Bernard isn’t going anywhere after a very impressive rookie season, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis is coming off of a disappointing season and the Bengals could free up $2.5 million in cap space by parting ways with him.
That’s purely a speculative option, but assuming they are looking to bolster their backfield, it makes sense that they would at least consider the idea of signing McFadden to a reasonable contract.