2012 NFL Free Agency: Going After Michael Bush Is Right Move for Bengals

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 19, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24:  Running back Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders rushes up field against the Kansas City Chiefs during overtime on December 24, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Oakland defeated Kansas City 16-13 in overtime.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Michael Bush is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, and it would be a good move by Cincy if they signed him.

According to Pro Sports Daily, the free-agent running back is high on the Bengals' wish list along with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

"Free-agent running back Michael Bush is scheduled to meet with the Cincinnati Bengals Monday.

Bush, who had a breakout season with the Oakland Raiders thanks to injuries to fellow running back Darren McFadden, is among a number of players on the Bengals’ list, including running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis."

After Cedric Benson inevitably leaves to free agency, Cincy will only have Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard. Both backs have a little bit of experience, but the Bengals will need a certified starter.

Many are hoping the Bengals grab Miami's Lamar Miller in the draft, but taking a running back in the first round can be awfully risky.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Lamar Miller #6 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game  against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Instead, Cincinnati should grab Michael Bush via free agency then grab someone like Chris Polk or David Wilson after the first round as a backup and future starter.

The Bengals are ready to compete now. While running backs have a better chance of competing right out of college than other positions, they shouldn't risk it.

They should sign Bush, who has proven he can start in the NFL.

Last year with the Raiders, Bush received 256 carries as he attempted to fill the shoes of Darren McFadden. He only racked up 977 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and that may remind Bengals fans of Benson, but Bush is much more dynamic.

He doesn't have breakaway speed, but Bush's ability to catch balls out of the backfield (37 catches for 418 yards) makes him infinitely more valuable. 

The Bengals' pass game is already fairly decent, with a little combo called Andy Dalton to A.J. Green (read with sarcastic tone. It's the best young combo in the league). But pairing a workhorse like Bush with a speedster like David Wilson would be the perfect combination to finally propel Cincinnati's offense into the elite category.