Reggie Bush Rumors: Latest on the Lions, Jets and More
Reggie Bush is currently preparing to hit the free-agent market after two productive seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Previously thought of as a running back only capable of handling a limited workload, Bush proved with Miami he can be a central figure in an offense.
The 28-year-old back rushed for nearly 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past two years. He also made 78 catches. That type of versatility makes him one of the best all-around backs available and allows him to hit the market at a perfect time to maximize his value.
Even though he's been a major piece of the Dolphins offense, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports the team is unlikely to bring him back because it views him as a luxury option. He also says Bush will have options once free agency begins.
Let's take a look at some of the teams being linked to the Bush sweepstakes and examine how he would fit into each offense.
UPDATE: Saturday, March 9, at 5:15 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
Add the Cardinals to the growing list of teams interested in Bush's services. According to Mike Garafalo of USA Today, Arizona has already had contact with representatives for the free-agent-to-be running back:
The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because neither side has commented publicly about the talks, said the Cardinals are one of a few teams in the mix for Bush, who seems destined to leave the Miami Dolphins after two seasons.
As expected, the Cardinals are looking to make massive upgrades throughout their offense. Quarterback has long been looked at as a top priority after the struggles the team had at the position last season, and Bush is the type of versatile back who can help the transition for whomever the Cardinals bring in.
Currently, the Cardinals have a stable of running backs led by Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. The two struggled mightily last season, as the Cardinals averaged a league-worst 3.4 yards per carry.
How Bush would fit into head coach Bruce Arians' plans remains to be seen. But his sheer presence alone would represent a massive upgrade over the his predecessors.
---End of update---
Mikel Leshoure was a workhorse for the Lions last season, racking up 215 carries in 14 games. He found the end zone nine times, but was more of a volume rusher than truly productive as he checked in below four yards per carry.
Detroit's lack of explosiveness in the backfield is the main reason it is among the teams being heavily connected to Bush. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press states the Lions' interest in the USC product is real and the team will make him a primary target.
Three years ago, Detroit thought it drafted a back similar to Bush in Jahvid Best. Unfortunately, concussions have derailed his promising career and the team can't count on him to become a major contributor moving forward.
Bush would give the Lions a good one-two punch alongside Leshoure. His playmaking skills would also provide an already high-powered offense, featuring Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, with another dangerous option.
Which of these teams is the best fit for Bush?
New York Jets
An offense that relies on Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene, who may not return in 2013, isn't going to score a lot of points. The Jets ranked 28th in the NFL at 17.6 points per game and must focus on adding more dynamic weapons to the offense this offseason.
Bush fits the mold and would like to play under the bright lights of New York, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Of course, the New York tag also brings the Giants into play, but they would appear less likely to spend on a running back.
The Jets offense as it's currently constructed worked when the team's defense was dominant. Since that unit has faded toward the middle of the pack, the team needs more firepower on the offensive side to become serious playoff contenders.
Although Bush isn't capable of completing that makeover by himself, he would certainly represent a major step in the right direction. The Jets would also be taking him away from a division rival as they battle for the No. 2 spot in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots.
San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews failed to live up to the hype, scoring just one touchdown in 12 games and averaging less than four yards per carry. The team's backup options were even less impressive, highlighted by players like Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown.
Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post reports the Chargers are definitely a team to watch in the Bush sweepstakes. It jives with a report from Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who states the free-agent back will land in Detroit or San Diego.
The level of urgency with which the Chargers go after Bush would illustrate how much confidence they have in Mathews. He's shown flashes of being a top-tier back, but his lack of durability and drop in production are a concern.
Bush would bring some stability to the backfield and take a lot of pressure off Mathews' shoulders. The team could then shift its focus to upgrading the offensive line, which would further help get the offense back on track.
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