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Three years, $9 million for Green-Ellis

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots carries the ball as Bryan Scott #43 of the Buffalo Bills defends on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Well, veteran running backs officially are the new kickers.

The three-year deal recently signed by Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has a base value, according to a league source, of $9 million. Making it worth $3 million per year.

And matching the annual average of the contracts signed last year by Panthers kicker Olindo Mare and Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell.

It doesn’t make it a bad deal for GreenEllis. It’s arguably the best deal of any of the veteran running back contracts signed since free agency opened. He’ll get $4 million in the first year, he can make another $1.6 million via mostly reasonable triggers, and (unlike Michael Bush and his $3.5 million annual average) GreenEllis won’t be backing up Matt Forte.

And so with Bush getting $3.5 million per year from the Bears and GreenEllis getting $3 million per year and Peyton Hillis getting $2.6 million on a one-year deal in Kansas City, and Mike Tolbert averaging $2.5 million over four with the Panthers, the guys who run with the football may have been better off if they’d learned to kick it.

Just ask Phil Dawson. The 37-year-old Browns kicker will make $3.8 million in 2012.