In a very surprising move, the Cardinals are moving on from a notable member of their backfield. Arizona has informed Eno Benjamin that he is being released (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). The move is now official.
The 23-year-old had taken on a large role earlier in the season, with lead running back James Conner sidelined due to injury. Operating as the undisputed starter between Weeks 6 and 8, Benjamin totaled 151 rushing yards, showcasing his ability to serve as an effective compliment to a healthy Conner.
It also marked an increase in usage for the former seventh-rounder compared to his two previous years in the league. Benjamin did not see game action as a rookie, then received just 34 carries in 2021. Between the injuries to Conner and veteran backup Darrel Williams, though, Benjamin had logged a notable 43% snap share to date. Overall, he totaled 299 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 70 carries (4.3 yards per attempt), adding 184 yards on 24 catches.
Benjamin played just one offensive snap during yesterday’s win over the Rams, as Conner took on a workhorse load. Still, as noted by Schefter’s colleague Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter), the Arizona State alum is “surprised” by the decision to release him. Williams remains on IR, so this move leaves Arizona thin in the backfield.
Benjamin’s production while elevated to the lead role in particular should make him an intriguing add to any number of teams looking for depth at the RB spot. Nonetheless, the Cardinals currently sit 19th in the league with an average of 113 rushing yards per game, so a change aimed at increasing that total with Conner back to full health could be reasonable. By moving on from Benjamin, Arizona will see $895K in cap savings this year, and just over $1MM in 2023.