Cedric Benson

The Green Bay Packers running game was pretty dreadful Thursday night, but we really saw no reason to panic. Apparently, the Packers do — they will reportedly sign three-time 1,000-yard rusher Cedric Benson.

Although the deal isn’t done, several sources say it’s imminent. Benson, who played for Cincinnati last season, ran for 1,069 yards in 2011 and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. He ran for more than 1,100 yards in 2010 and more than 1,200 in 2009.

In the Packers preseason opener, starter James Starks looked like crap, which we assume prompted the move. Starks fumbled, dropped a pass and ran for only 16 yards on five carries.

So why is Benson still on the free agent market? Why is Ryan Grant still on the free agent market?

Benson is 29, so there’s the question of how much he has left. His rushing totals have decreased each of the past three seasons and he’s been a workhorse back.

Why didn’t the Packers just bring Grant back? You’d have to ask Ted Thompson that question. He’s the same age, knows the offense and has fewer carries during his career.

Signing Benson and not Grant seems totally contrary to how the Packers have traditionally done business. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the table.