« Philbin: 'We have a million miles to go' | Main | GM Jeff Ireland has 'regret' over unpleasant exchange »

Looming Bush contract talks a dilemma but also an opportunity

At some point within the next month the Dolphins and the agent representing Reggie Bush will discuss what precisely to do about the contract status of the team's most impressive player so far this season.

Bush, the NFL's second-leading rusher, is in the final year of his contract. And although neither side pushed the other to get an extension signed before the start of this season -- with both thinking they held a good hand and both comfortable of the future -- the questions now begin to resonate:

Can the Dolphins afford to keep their best player before he hits free agency?

Can the Dolphins afford to let their best player walk away in free agency?

A few weeks ago, before he exploded onto this 2012 season, Bush was seemingly being set up for replacement by the Dolphins. Not only had they not talked to super agent Joel Segal about a new deal but last year they drafted Daniel Thomas in the second round and this year added highly regarded Lamar Miller in the fourth round.

In the world of well-run NFL franchises, that's how it is done. You acquire a running back. Use him up. Then you let him go before having to spend big money on what is increasingly a diminishing asset in today's pass-happy NFL.

The Dolphins did that with Ronnie Brown. And that's what they seemed to be doing with Bush.

Fact is, that still may be the plan. If the Dolphins decide re-signing Bush to a contract extension is too expensive, they might simply move forward with their younger, albeit unproven replacements that are already on the team and were drafted to be the next and less expensive guys up.

But Bush has thrown a wrench into this possible course of action by simply being everything the Dolphins could have wanted from him and much, much, more.

He is a threat from anywhere on the field as his 65-yard run Sunday against Oakland proved.

He has been not only willing, but actually eager to be a workhorse. He led the team with 216 carries last season and is on pace for 320 carries this season -- although that probably won't be sustainable.

Bush is the team's hardest working player. I did not say he's one of Miami's the hardest working players. He is the hardest worker on the team. It is a rare day when practice ends and Bush isn't pushing a sled or running sprints afterward. 

Bush also has stayed relatively healthy, reporting for duty in 17 of a possible 18 games.

The guy has been a beast. Even offensive coordinator Mike Sherman marvels at his ability to run between the tackles and stay fresh.

"I remember Reg when he came out of college and they didn’t ask him a whole lot in that regard, and he was so much faster than everybody else that is was easier to run around them than through them," Sherman said. "But, when I study the tapes form last year, certainly he did that numerous times, and has done that for us too. The durability is what amazes me. He’s out there today like he didn’t even play a game yesterday running around and doing what he does. (He’s) a very impressive young man, no question about that.”

Bush's value around  the league has increased dramatically since he arrived in Miami. And his value in Miami has increased dramatically the past couple of games. So it stands to reason the longer the Dolphins wait to attend to a possible contract extension, the higher the price to re-sign Bush will get because somebody will surely be happy to sign a 27-year-old playmaker in his prime.

Now, I suppose the Dolphins can play hardball and say they'll think about Bush's status at the end of the season, gambling that he slows down and his value declines. That would be an ironic way to attend to this matter because if that's the approach the Dolphins would be banking on Bush not playing as well as he currently is while also hoping, for the team's sake, that he plays better than he is now.

Segal, meanwhile, can play hardball as well. He can simply set a price for Bush and say if the Dolphins don't meet it, he'll become a free agent and go to the highest bidder. And if Bush continues his current trajectory, he's going to be more expensive after the season than he is now. The Bush camp would be betting that Bush is hitting his stride and what you see the past two games is what you'll see the next 14 games.

What makes most sense? Everyone needs to be reasonable.

The Dolphins need to realize Bush is one of their few offensive weapons and they should be in the business of adding weapons for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, not subtracting them.

The Dolphins should realize that Thomas has proven nothing so far as a player. Banking on him to replace Bush is wishful thinking at this point. Yes, Miller was very, very promising in his first game on Sunday, gaining 65 yards as Bush's replacement.

But they should like the idea of having both Bush and Miller in what amounts to a stable of one home run hitter and a player who was a home run hitter in college.

Segal, meanwhile, needs to realize his client has it pretty good down here. He gets the carries he wants. He lives in a town he likes. The team is going to improve as Tannehill gets more experience. And because the Dolphins know Bush best and have milked him for his highest pro production, maybe it would serve him to stay here.

So what is Reggie Bush worth?

That's not my business to judge. It's up to Reggie Bush, his agent, and the Dolphins. But you can believe this is a topic that will soon be on the table for the team and the player. And it will be very interesting to see how it eventually plays out.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

fah-hurst

good night


Reggie is still running....lol

actually the best thing to do from a business standpoint is to trade him, a contender will pay handsomely for him and then we sign him in March during free agency! Oooo....brainstorm! We will franchise Jake bec his agent is Tom Condon and everyone knows he is an ass-whole so he won't sign b4 free agency starts. We may keep Sean Smith ala Soliai and I think there was one other free agent we will want to keep.

Oh Randy Starks, read the article about him today in fact. Getting either him or Sean Smith down will be a plus for us. Getting them both will be a miracle.

Would they be able to agree on 4yrs/$25M with $18M Guaranteed.

1st yr/this year: $6,000,000 guaranteed (we have the space)
2nd yr: $5,000,000
3rd yr: $6,000,000
4th yr: $7,000,000 ($2M guaranteed via 'roster bonus' due 3/15/15)


(Bush gets a raise, paid like Top 5 back but the Dolphins get a small 'hometown discount'.)

I am not sure if I want to go down this road BUT, if they can't agree to a deal, they could STILL franchise him or consider trading him at the NEWLY EXTENDED Trade Deadline. (If the Dolphins happen to be worse than 4-3 at the time.)

Any thoughts from Armando or others on whether you think this is fair to both sides?

**EDIT**

Just opinions on the 'general numbers'. I am not a 'cap-ologist' so I don't know if that is how the contract would be structured.

Totally chuffed by Reggie's production on the field, totally surprised by his work-ethic & team leadership.
Pay The Man His Money!

We should extend Bush for a couple of reasons. If he leaves via trade, at least we get something for him and if he stays then we have a legit weapon in his prime. Jake Longs contract bothers me a lil. Hes over rated and injury prone and he will cost a ton to keep.

This is Irelands domain and he needs to get it right for the sake of the franchise, the fans and the Team itself.

I don't know about the value of the contract, but I'd offer him a decent THREE YEAR deal.

Reggie being 27 will want at least a 4 year deal. We can then use it as a bargaining tool to get a better price.

I wouldn't plan on using Thomas, Miller or a FIND in the draft.

Reggie knows the offense and is a perfect fit! Get a deal done.

If Ireland muffs this one, what then? Our best playmaker becomes Hartline? Maybe Fasano?

I don't even know if it's possible, but I would give him a 4 year deal with an optional/voidable 5th year. If we include a 5th year his average comes down making the overall deal more cap friendly.

Then again.....it's almost 3:00 AM and I'm still celebrating our Home Opening Victory!

ValHalla!!!!

We have one legitimate threat on offense and everyone knows it, yet he still produces. There's gonna be a lot of #22 jerseys this week. That means $$$ in the owners' eyes. Not just Stephen Ross, but all the owners. Pay this guy. He works hard. He's a leader that leads by example and puts it on film and on the scoreboard.

Reggie Reggie!

P.S. Decide on a logo and resign this guy and I'm in for an Authentic Nike Jersey next year. This year I'll rock the fakey.

3years 15 million and a 5million signing bonus.. Reggie likes miami and miami loves him.plus we have gotten reggies best work of his pro career. Lets keep it going.

Bush is going to be this years leading rusher , might not have enough to keep him.....

Also looks like the Falcons defense read Peyton Manning's EYES last night and ate him up.... He needs to learn how to look off the linebackers and defensive backs if he wants to be a successful Q/b in this league again ;)

Also Tom Brady had a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted, looks like he is having problems finding passing lanes, or his O-line isn't good enough to know to push the defender to the ground when they try to tip the ball. ;)

Sign the guy. It is tough to find someone better. And he is both a leader and a great asset on the field. McGahee ran for over 100 yards yesterday. The great ones are always worth it.
Of course there is a price.

I have a feeling both sides will get it done in a mutually-beneficial way in Reggie's case. He got his big paycheck as #2 overall, and I genuinely don't think he's looking to break the bank.

Honestly, Long worries me more. There's Joe Thomas' contract...plus Long's not right physically (you can just tell)...plus LT is a less valuable piece of the puzzle than it used to be. Between him and Sean Smith we MAY have a decision to make in terms of who gets paid. Of course, there's always the tag.

Lets get real....

Bush will slow down as the season progreses. These were the Raiders, LOL.

Also, Bush has only been able to stay healthy for one season in his career!!!

If he becomes the workhorse back, odds are he will be on IR before the end of the season.

Management, if they are smart, will WAIT. If Bush gets injured AGAIN, his future contract value plummets, proving he cannot stay healthy, which was the main concern in the past. IF he makes it through the entire season, you pay the man his due.

I think most teams around the league are going to be a little leary about overpaying a big name free agent running back after what happened with Chris Johnson. CJ2K was unstoppable one year and couldn't do anything the next.

Also, remember what the Bills did with their QB. Fitz got off to blazing start and lit it up for 6 games. The Bills gave him a huge new contract and then he stunk it up.

You only give HUGE contacts to players you know are going to be dependable....guys like Jake Long. I think Peterson in Minnesota is the only RB who you know is going to be good 5 years from now. Reggie will probably be a good healthy player for the next 4 or 5 years, but it's not a sure bet.

This is one of Irelands few bright spots, so he's got an incentive to keep him. The Dolphins sure got the better of the Cheatriots that offseason. Dolphins got Reggie for a 5th rounder. Cheatriots gave a 5th rounder for Albert Haynesworth (speaking of overpaying a hot player).

That's a no-brainer to me. Besides his obvious physical talents, he's a great fit for this System. I'm sure they will work out something mutually satisfactory.

Reading these posts makes you think. I know now why J. Martin was cutting People down. Hartline was on the R side and getting the single coverage early. No tipped passes.

Did you see the communication between RT and Hartline by means of signs? Great stuff I like.

Going under the radar was John Jerry. Never noticed him and that is good.

Did you see Big Paul pushing a defender and almost grabbing Palmer by the helmet? Funny stuff.

- C'mon Oscar, let's go. - Listen, I want to enjoy the rest of this blowout. Leave me alone.

Armando,

Stop posting at all times of the day & night with your various aliases. We are on to you!

Good post Mando, I was thinking the same on Sunday. I'm sure Ireland will find a way to mess this up to. Expect to see Reggie on the Jets next year!

In the words of Teddy KGB... "Pay him.. Pay that man his money.."

Oscar,

You are so right on John Jerry! They pushed him hard in camp, and got his weight down. Look at the results! This can be a top 5 OL in the NFL at some point.

Can't wait for this Jet game!!

Give the man a 2 year contract. He's a good role model for any young player on the team with his work ethic. He brings excitement to the fanbase. And he's a good mentor or a similar player in Lamar Miller. He changes the way defenses handle our RB situation, especially if we get him going out in the flat or as a WR or in screens. He's only 27 too? Weren't people touting him as a 29 year old over-the-hill back? Someone has their facts messed up. Give me more Reggie Bush next season....assuming he stay healthy

Reggie has just hit his prime. I see at least 3-4 more years of very high production. No-brainer, resign him.

D20,

Offering Bush a 2yr contract's a slap in the face. He'll be gone for sure.

The market out there isnt exactly great.

REggie is the kind of guy who will not let pricing determine where he plays.

He likes this coach. He likes his new QB. He will like his decent signing bonus.

Welcome Home Reggie! You Rock!

Guys,

Lets look at like this, with Long needing to be resigned, and it came down to keeping Reggie Bush or Karlos Dansby. Which do you keep? Seems like a no brainer right?

Some of you are are insane. Jake Long has been declining the last 2 years yet you're still posting he deserves top money. Bush has been our best player the last 2 years pay the man just not CJ money.

Realist,

I wouldnt advocate making Jake Long highest paid NFL olineman, but I would at least offer him top 5 pay. A slipping Jake Long is still better than at least 27 other NFL LT's.

Remember, sometimes in life you dont know what you truly had until its gone. Be careful waht you wish for because you dont know what's coming to take its place.

It would be pretty expensive IMO to resign Reggie. Just take a look at the recent contracts handed to RBs who aren't very good. I think Carolina signed both Stewart and D'Angelo for something like $35-40 M deals. I think something around that is what his agent will look for and SHOULD.

Folks,

We may have some problems in Miami but Jake Long isnt one of them.

AndyNJ,

35-40 million is relative peanuts. We gave Marshall like 5yrs 50 million(10 per year). If we could sign Reggie for 5yrs 40 million(8 million per yr) we should be counting our lucky stars.

Then offer him a 4 year contract and cut him after year 2 or 3 because his play will decline by then; which looks worse?

D20,

You take a chance of a player's performance declining whether it another team's fa or your own that you sign. Its just the price you pay sometimes for doing business.

However, usually when you have a player of Bush's work ethic, those kind of players are productive for longer periods of time. You just have to be on the look out for not signing damaged goods or Albert Haynesworth's.

If you signed Bush for 4yrs, by year 3, you still have the option of trading for high draft picks if you want to move on to your younger players.

Still under contract for a couple years makes him easier to to trade. If Reggie walks, I can see him as a 49er next season. The rich get richer.

If it takes a 4 year contract I'll bite that bullet....unless Miller and Thomas show they can handle the load; then I'd rather advocate for using that money elsewhere such as Starks or even Solai after the 2013 season...he's going to demand a bigger contract than 12m/2yr

Soliai has seen his last big contract in Miami. He's easier to replace now that we're a 4-3 defense. We have up and coming DT's like Keeston Randle we're developing. Only way Solia sees another big contract in Miami is to play at an all pro level the next few years.

Big Paul's main forte is as a run stopping hole clogger. He doesnt bring much getting after the passer. The 4-3 asks the DT's to be good pass rushers too.

I'll get heat from this, and that's fine. But in this regard, I think Jeff Ireland knows what he's doing. He doesn't (usually) get hosed on paying talent. He stands his ground. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses, but he's against giving up big money to talent, whatever their worth.

And for a 27 year old RB, that's fine with me. I love Reggie Bush, think he's the best player on the team, think he's the hardest-working player on the team, but c'mon, at best he'll get this team to 6-10. We can't get stuck keeping talent in the twilight of their careers because they did something for us in their prime. Like Mando said, that's what good teams do (ex to the next).

And we need help in a lot of areas: WR, CB, S, TE. I'm assuming, as Tannehill gains experience and gets better, the team will rely more on the pass part of the WCO than the run, so Bush should be offered fair value for a player who maybe right now is the face of the offense, but very soon might be just a role player.

Starks most likely never sees a huge pay day neither. Stark seems to be stuck at playing on a "borderline pro bowl" level. A few games a year he looks definite pro bowl material, then others, he's just an average nfl d-lineman.

Starks has never been "consistently great". Therefore he'll never earn consistently great pay.

By the way, I say the same for Jake Long. Look at the Falcons last night. I'm not sure who's on their line. But the QB is a high-draft pick, both WRs, the TE and RB are elite FA pickups, and they're not rebuilding year after year like we are. That's how you make a team, that's a team that's competing each and every year, that's how Miami should be looking to shape this team.

Jake Long should be given a chance to come back here, but if another team wants to pay him Top 3 money, God bless 'em, they can have him (if I'm GM).

DC,

Between the years of 27-30 are usually a rb's most productive years. Look at your Emmitts, Sanders, Simpson..etc...

Like I posted earlier, with a 4yr contract, in year 3 we still have the option of shopping Bush for upper rd draft picks. That's how Bellichik usually does it. He gets high value for his players while they still have have much left in the tank.

YG,

I agree. I'm not saying I wouldn't do it. But considering, Jake Long and Starks are also must resigns so with the genius (sarcasm) capologist duo of Ireland/Aponte you have to wonder how they can allocate a few deals.

DC, how would you solve: WR, CB, SS/FS, ROL (putting Martin to LT assuming), and another aspect of DL if Starks walks?

Before I let Reggie walk for nothing, I would see if another team was interested in a sign and trade deal. I figure in the very least Bush is worth a 2nd rd pick right now. Maybe a bottom 1st rd pick if he has a great year.

Right now Bush is on pace to rush for over 1,700yds this season.

"Bush's value around the league has increased dramatically since he arrived in Miami".


And who was the GM that saw the value in going out and getting this guy for a 5th round pick? That's right...Jeff Ireland.

You won't read that hear from any of these other clowns, so I will post it hear. All you're going to hear about is this crap about 'how could he trade a Pro Bowl WR for 2 third picks'?....'How could he trade a 3rd, 5th and 7th for Daniel Thomas?'

A bit of balance folks. The GOOD needs to be mentioned rather than the bad ad naseum.

YG, that's why I say give him a fair deal. FAIR! Don't go overboard. Or try to trade him for value. Either way, we need to recognize Bush is getting touches now because we have no one else. But the hope is in the next 1-2 years, we will have other players. If we get a Julio Jones-type player, then the stock of any RB goes down, because they are now just 1 weapon in an arsenal, not the SOLE weapon.

AndyNJ,

We could also bite the bullett and not go fa shopping this offseason. Some of the most valuable fa's this year and probably next year, are our own.

Sometimes the best addition is not subtracting from your own. Just means doing a better job drafting over the next couple seasons.

YG,

Exactly! Miami needs to resign their own and build through the draft. The best teams in the league are built this way for the most part.

give RB a four yr, back loaded contract, cut him after two yrs. No way RB makes his 29th birthday without serious knee damage. Bush doesnt have to the body to standup to the pounding for 4 more yrs.

With Bush's work ethic, Im very optimistic, barring injury, he could be a 1,000yd rusher up until the age of 32. Thats where I see the major declining begins. Guys who really take care of thier bodies add a couple years major production to thier careers.

Bush with his stern work ethic does just that. I believe Bush has enough left in the tank to be a major part of a championship run if this franchise is finally getting its shyte together. If not, we may as well let Reggie walk and not waste the money.

Bush is going to want the same kind of money that Williams in Carolina just signed. Anybody think that was a good deal?

You have to ask yourself if this is a contending team this year. I think most if us would agree it's not. If you can get Bush to sign a three year/$15 million deal then great, you do it, but I think we're dreaming. Price will be way too high. Is this where we want all the FA money to be spent when we have guys like Long, Starks and Smith to be taken care of? I say no. On top of that we have WR, S, TE, LB and CB to be addressed. Some of that can be done in the draft but where are you guys suggesting we spend our FA dollars next year? Cause if you sign Bush to the contract he wants most will be gone, after you sign Long, Smith, Starks etc....

Some of you guys have REALLY short memories. Just a year ago when Ireland acquired Bush you were saying 'why would he trade for a broken-down, third down back'. Now you're poposing we pay him $35-45 million, 12 months later. CLASSIC flip-flop!

MD20, being fair to any GM, I don't know if it can be done in 1 Draft. If we're honest, 50% draft efficiency is pretty much the best you can ask of any talent evaluator. So, it has to be a blend of good drafting (over the next 2 years), and giving yourself enough CAP room to add that vet FA or 2 that might push your team over the top (I do that when my team is ready to compete though). So, in Year 1, I try to add some CAP room (a la Bush, Long, Starks). Not saying get rid of these players, but see if they'll play ball and won't demand top dollars (just fair, not CAP-busting money). If yes, great, makes it easy. If no, then Ireland's got work to do and will have to make the tough decisions (like you said, axe Long, slide Martin to LT, maybe let Bush walk, or trade him for picks).

Then of course this upcoming Draft needs to produce a few playmakers at those key positions you mentioned. Don't need to fill all of them, it would be better to find TRUE playmakers for a couple of them (so I don't advocate trading back for more picks, I say take the best you can at your spot).

Then give Tannehill another year to develop, working in the new talent, getting everyone to gel.

THEN, critical Year 3, THAT'S when you draft who you can, and look to fill in the remaining needs with FA's (if need be) that would help you get over the hump (assuming by then we're able to realistically see Playoff implications if we do it right).

That's an outline of what I'd do in a nutshell.

YG,

So Bush has ONE 1,000 yard season, last year and now you've got him rattling off 1,000 yard season for the next 5 years? CLASSIC!

I'm glad you're not holding the pursestrings of this franchise man, because you'd bankrupt it in no time.

AndyNJ,

I liostened to Philbin's presser yesterday. Hearing him I was so overjoyed my eyes started welling up. Finally, it seems we have a hc in Miami that really gets it. Not only does he crack the whip with his players, he challenges his coaching staff to rise to the next level too.

The more I listen to Philbin, the more impressed I become. Im very optimistic he's selling the players and coaches under him too. He's challenging everything around him to become great. The secretaries, ballboys, and janitorial staff too. LOL

I'm still not sold on Smith but we need him, also worried about our LBs

If you can get Bush to sign a fair deal now (not too much money and not too long a term) then GREAT. I don;t know why he would. Wait until the offseason and cash in.

I don't believe the model of football team Philbin wants will have his running back being paid $8-10 mil a year. Everything Philbin does smacks of TEAM. Paying your running back that kind of money at age 28 doesn't sound like how Philbin will do business, as much as he probably loves Bush.

1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.