Saints running back Reggie Bush is once again being linked to the Steelers in the article by Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports. Cole sites that a source has told him that Bush will indeed be playing for another team next season and teams likely to be candidates for his services are the Dolphins, Steelers, Seahawks and Giants.
Bush is scheduled to earn $11.8 million base salary in 2011 with the Saints, who are believed to be wanting him to take a pay cut to stay in New Orleans. Joel Segal, Bush\’s agent, represents several Steelers players that include Ike Taylor, Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster. He also represents former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was traded to the Jets last offseason. Segal, like all agents, will be aiming for top dollar for the services of the oft-injured Bush, who has missed 20 games over the past 4 seasons.
Cole writes that the Steelers and Dolphins are interested because they are looking to add speed on offense. Well isn\’t everyone? The Steelers could indeed have an opening for a 3rd down type back as Mewelde Moore will be an unrestricted free agent whenever the free agency begins. The Steelers did however draft Texas Tech running back Baron Batch in the 7th round of the 2011 draft to compete for that roll should Moore not be re-signed. In addition, Isaac Redman will also be looked at for an increased role in the offense should Moore not be back and looked more than adequate in his pass protection during his limited opportunities last season.
While Bush surely is a great pass catcher out of the backfield, his pass blocking is below average and he has not shown any consistent ability to run between the tackles. Did I mention he is also injury prone? He also carries a diva type attitude to add to everything else, something that would be frowned upon in the Steelers locker room.
Then there is the money issue. Bush will not be playing anywhere in 2011 for a minimum or close to minimum type salary and the Steelers will already be up against a salary cap, which surely will be included in the next CBA. Although Bush is also a return man, the Steelers surely will not want to pay a 3rd down back/return man a salary of more than 2 million a season as even Rashard Mendenhall is only scheduled to count less than 2 million against the cap in 2011. Can you imagine the animosity you would create if Bush was brought in for more money and a lesser role? Lastly the Steelers signing of higher priced free agent running backs did not work out so well in recent history either. Remember Duce Staley in 2004?
There will be much cheaper role playing running backs available when free agency begins that the Steelers can sign to compete with Batch and I suspect an undrafted free agent will be signed as well as a training camp body. Signing a player like Bush does not fit the way the Steelers normally do business and I still would be highly surprised if it happened like I mentioned over a month ago when Bush was first speculated as being a future Steeler.