Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Michael Bush A Luxury Raiders Can’t Afford


Earlier in the week I listed all the reasons why the Raiders were prepared to let Michael Bush walk away as a free agent. Yesterday the team pretty much spelled that out with the use of the franchise tag on Tyvon Branch.

At this point it’s just a numbers game.

It’s just that simple.

The franchise number for Branch comes in around $6-million, for Bush it would be about a $1-million more. Mere pennies to Al Davis but to Reggie McKenzie it might as well be a Dr. Evil’s worth of a million bucks.

More than just the savings, we’re also talking about the difference between a full-time player in Branch and a part-time contributor in Bush. I don’t want that to sound disrespectful to Bush in anyway as his 2011 was anything but part-time labor. Part-timers aren’t getting 25+ touches a game, pushing Bo Jackson out of the franchise record book or playing injured cause they know the team needs them.

Bush did all of that and then some last year. But as we all know Oakland, California, is Darren McFadden country. Even when he’s injured and Bush is playing well all the talk is about how soon Run DMC will be back on the field.

McFadden is beast of a different breed. He’s that classic car that only runs well a few times a year but on those occasions there is nothing like hearing the motor hum and the tires squeal on a Sunday afternoon.

For 2012 McFadden would have made less than Bush had the Raiders tagged their talented backup. Even if you’re putting your chips on that sure bet of McFadden missing more time next season it’s just not good business sense to keep that much money tied to one position on the team. Not when young running backs emerge from obscurity every season in the NFL like so many supermodels that are Sports Illustrated pinups today and Zumba instructors tomorrow.

Not when McKenzie is swimming in a sea of over-committed contracts.

Stop for a moment and really think about the state of this franchise. Even if Mr. Davis were still running the show he too would have to make tough decisions. Obviously Davis didn’t add the salaries of Carson Palmer and Aaron Curry to the books. No matter what though, his accountants would still have been mired in a salary cap quagmire no thanks to those phat cat dealings done without discretion.

Therefore the Michael Bush dilemma never was one. McKenzie’s hands are tied. Keep throwing money at an offense that is a top ten unit and slash more salary from a bottom-dwelling defense. That’s not a formula for success.

Having Bush in silver and black was an absolute luxury for the Raiders. They got his services at a steep discount. Chances are they’ll get a similar deal again. What is true in the business world holds equally true in the NFL. Why pay a veteran top dollar when there’s a hungry college grad out there willing to do the same job on the cheap?

Finding another Bush isn’t as easy as shopping for bacon at Safeway…right Romo? Fact of the matter is the Raiders could have easily dropped four of their last five games with Taiwan Jones missing blitzes as they did with Bush racking up 100-yard games.

It’s just that simple.

What else is simple is the logic on running backs. Check the facts and you’ll see the average NFL runner is lucky to get 2 and ½ years of pro ball. Justin Fargas was once a 1,000-yard rusher. Harvey Williams too.

Bush gets nothing but love from Raider Nation for his services. He’s worked hard to get into a position to get his due. He shouldn’t get caught up in silly sentiment. This is a business and it is now or never for Bush to get his. The Raiders can’t pay what he’s worth but somebody else can and will.

It’s just that simple.

Tags: Aaron Curry Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bo Jackson Carson Palmer Darren McFadden Harvey Williams Justin Fargas Michael Bush Reggie McKenzie Taiwan Jones Tyvon Branch