With the way Michael Bush has consistently performed in the absence of Darren McFadden there is no doubt he can and should be a starter in the NFL. Al Davis got himself a real bargain when he was willing to draft Bush knowing the rookie would have to sit for an entire year while rehabbing from a collegiate injury.
That very injury is what took Bush off the board in the 4th round of the NFL Draft instead of the 1st. That same injury is also what cost him a year of service in the NFL. Scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, the league ruled Bush’s first season did not count towards his contract status. Therefore the Raiders got Bush’s services at a discount for another year as all they had to do was place the highest contract tender possible on the stud backup ensuring no other team would match the offer.
Now the Raiders could have done themselves a favor and opened contract talks with Bush prior to the start of the season. That would have at least allowed them to get ahead of the sure-to-be Bush sweepstakes this coming offseason.
Safe to say the price tag on Bush was a little less until he took over again for McFadden and pushed Bo Jackson out of the Raider record book.
ESPN’s AFC West blogger Bill Williamson had an interesting take on what will happen between Bush and the Raiders once the season is over. In his weekly chat session Williamson was asked what Bush’s future in Oakland will be. Williamson responded with the following.
I think he could get paid starter’s money and he may want a chance to be the lead back. This could be a Michael Turner situation from a few years back in San Diego.
Now teams have been calling the Raiders about Bush for years. Once he proved his leg injury was a thing of the past not a season has gone by in which there wasn’t some trade rumor involving Michael Bush.
But this is a much different beast.
The Raiders are already going to have to do some creative accounting even before factoring in a new contract for Bush. With the money owed to Carson Palmer, Stanford Routt, Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley not to mention the soon-to-get-paid McFadden, the Oakland front office has its hands full.
Keeping Bush will require a substantial payday as teams will no doubt be willing to show him the money and make him a lead back.
In the Michael Turner scenario the real irony is that the San Diego Chargers, who lost Turner to free agency, could be among the teams that will pursue the coveted free agent Bush. Just a couple of years ago there was supposedly a deal on the table between the two AFC West rivals that would have sent Bush to SoCal. Now that the Chargers are struggling to establish a legit run game and after seeing Bush run all over them yet again it would stand to reason that they might open their checkbook for the big back.
The Raiders are currently in an eerily similar situation with when you compare it to the Chargers with Turner. Much like the Raiders with McFadden the Chargers had their franchise back in LaDainian Tomlinson. Very much like the situation Bush is in, Turner was also a backup with starter potential. In addition both teams boasted young backs buried on the depth chart that have blazing speed as the Chargers had Darren Sproles and the Raiders currently with Taiwan Jones.
Now before we look too far down the line let’s keep in mind that there is plenty of football left to be played this year. You never know what might unfold. Knocking on wood, Bush must remain healthy. We know his talent is real but there is no telling how he’ll handle a large workload for an extended period of time. Keep in mind this is the first time Bush has been the lone back getting the bulk of the carries. In previous seasons Bush was still splitting some carries with Justin Fargas and last season McFadden played in more games than he ever had as a pro.
Something else to keep in mind is the landscape of the NFL. Before free agency begins teams will have to make some tough decisions. Like dominos, when one big one tips the rest will fall. Sometimes one contract can change the entire dynamic of free agency. Just see the deal the Raiders gave Nnamdi Asomugha a few years back. If another player playing the same position as Bush gets a huge payday it could cool teams on having to match those dollars thus leaving the Raiders in prime position to bargain.
No matter what the future is uncertain for Bush. Right here and now he’ll have to keep cranking out record setting performances to drive up his price. In some respects the Raiders could benefit the most from that scenarios which could be why they didn’t want to show Bush the money in the first place.
Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bo Jackson Carson Palmer Darren McFadden Darren Sproles Justin Fargas Kamerion Wimbley LaDainian Tomlinson Michael Bush Michael Turner Nnamdi Asomugha Richard Seymour Stanford Routt Taiwan Jones