Chiefs add Bennett to backfield via trade with Saints
With the future of Priest Holmes still undetermined, the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday night acquired running back Michael Bennett from the New Orleans Saints for what is believed to be a future draft choice, ESPN.com has learned.
Paperwork must still be filed with the NFL office and the deal is contingent on Bennett passing a Chiefs-administered physical exam. That should not be a problem since Bennett was already in camp with the Saints and practicing.
The subject of considerable trade talk ever since the Saints chose Reggie Bush in the first round of the draft, Bennett will become the primary backup to starter Larry Johnson. The absence of Holmes, and the possibility that he might be forced to retire because of head and neck injuries sustained last season, left the Chiefs perilously thin at the position.
Several teams inquired about Bennett and, in the past week, the St. Louis Rams -- who will be without Marshall Faulk for all of the 2006 season -- offered the Saints a fourth-round pick in next year's draft. Bennett would have preferred being traded to the Rams, where Scott Linehan, his onetime offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, is the first-year head coach.
New Orleans officials told Bennett and his agent that they dealt him to Kansas City because they did not want to trade him to an NFC team. Other franchises that expressed an interest in Bennett in the last three months included Miami and Houston.
The Saints could have traded Bennett earlier, but held off until they could assess the recovery of starting tailback Deuce McAllister from 2005 knee surgery and until they got Bush under contract.
A former first-round draft choice and a onetime Pro Bowl performer, Bennett was signed by the Saints as an unrestricted free agent on March 17, at a time when New Orleans was seeking an established back and had no idea Bush would be available at No. 2 in the draft. Bennett signed a two-year, $3 million contract.
Before signing with the Saints, Bennett, 27, played all five previous seasons with the Vikings, who chose him in the first round of the 2001 draft. The former University of Wisconsin star was the draft's 27th overall selection that year, four spots after the Saints chose McAllister.
The speedy Bennett rushed for 1,296 yards and five touchdowns in '02, and became the first player in NFL history to produce runs of 60-plus yards in three straight games that year. Over the ensuing three seasons, however, Bennett totaled only 1,196 yards and five touchdowns. In 16 appearances in 2005, including six starts, he carried 126 times for 473 yards and three touchdowns.
For his career, Bennett has 713 carries for 3,174 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has 126 receptions for 1,040 yards and five scores. Bennett has appeared in 64 games, starting 49.