We’re supposedly only a few weeks away from seeing this lockout come to an end. Most reports indicate that the new CBA will call for fourth year players to become unrestricted free agents. Naturally this affects every team in some way and for the Raiders it hits home in a potentially damaging way.
Both Zach Miller and Michael Bush are due to hit the open market the moment the lockout ends and the new CBA is in place. Both are going to be highly sought commodities and both will be looking to break the bank.
While keeping Miller in town could require some creative accounting Al Davis shouldn’t find it as difficult to keep Michael Bush in the East Bay.
That’s not a knock on Bush. Since he proved his broken leg was only a temporary setback on his journey to the NFL, Bush has been the name that routinely comes up in trade talks whenever the Raiders are discussed. His size, speed and downhill style make Bush an ideal fit in any system. Not to mention he’s had minimal miles put on those legs as a backup and occasional starter.
These days teams need a tandem of backs. No secrets there. Between Bush and Darren McFadden the Raiders have one of the best combos in pro football. If Bush is looking to be a fulltime starter then his options are limited.
Its likely Bush would have to take his talents to a team going through the rebuilding process if he wants to start. Given the Raiders recent success it would be a step backwards for Bush to go to a team like the Bills or (God forbid) the Broncos.
In addition, Bush figures to feature prominently in Hue Jackson’s offense. He might not get the bulk of the carries but in certain packages, on screen passes and as a style changing runner Bush is a beast that will take center stage.
There’s also the injury factor. Last season was the first of his three years pro that Run DMC has been healthy and he still missed games. While nobody is rooting to see McFadden hurt, Bush stands a good chance of seeing extended time playing behind Darren.
Lastly Bush has to feel some sense of loyalty. Yes, I’m fully aware that this is a business unlike any other. Bush need only to look at Nnamdi Asomugha’s current situation to understand that. Still there is something to be said for the fact that the Raiders were the only team willing to take the risk of rolling the dice on Bush. They paid him for an entire year in which he didn’t play and have given him more and more carries with each year he’s been in the league.
Now I’m not going as far as to say Bush will be a Raider for life. But I do feel very certain that Michael Bush will be back in Silver and Black next season and for the foreseeable future. Let’s not forget that if this lockout does end soon that teams will be caught in a free agency frenzy. I’m sure Bush’s agent will be getting plenty of calls but only one will likely offer him the money and playing situation he’s looking for. Al Davis knows how to show players the money and Coach Jackson knows exactly how to get the best out of Bush. Thus it makes perfect sense for Bush to remain a Raider.