The Chargers cut stopgap linebacker Derrick Smith today to make room for Michael Bennett. San Diego claimed Bennett off waivers, in a move that some feel was meant to stop Denver from acquiring a much needed healthy running back. Personally, I think the Chargers know how important the running game is in November and December, so a move was made to add some competition and veteran presence to the backfield. Let us also not forget that Bennett was a former first round draft pick, and the guy made the Pro Bowl playing in the NFC North. Unfortunately, Bennett has been somewhat injury prone and exactly how much he’ll contribute this season remains to be seen.
The official San Diego Chargers press release:
The Chargers added depth to their offensive backfield Wednesday as they claimed veteran running back Michael Bennett off waivers from Tampa Bay.
Bennett (5-9, 207), an eighth-year pro, has rushed for 3,627 yards and has a career average of 4.4 yards per carry. He has appeared in 94 games and started 50 during stints with Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Minnesota. With 151 career receptions, Bennett has also proven himself to be a capable receiver out of the backfield.
After a stellar collegiate career at Wisconsin, where he was teammates with Chargers wide receiver Chris Chambers, Bennett was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2002 after rushing for 1,296 yards.
Bennett spent the first five years of his career in Minnesota before signing with the Chiefs prior to the 2006 season. Midway through the 2007 campaign, he was traded to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers released Bennett Tuesday so the club could activate Carnell “Cadillac” Williams from the “Reserve-Physically Unable to Perform” list.
In order to make room for Bennett on the Bolts’ 53-man roster, the club released linebacker Derek Smith.