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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.


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The lynchpin in all our hypothesizing (hope everyone sees this) is the way we Draft. EVERYTHING we're hoping for is predicated on that. If we find gems, we'll get closer than ever before to being a force in the NFL. If we keep only finding good role players, well, it's a tougher road with more obstacles.

These next few Drafts will be make/break for this newest rebuild effort.


You make people call you idiot. Look at your post prior to responding to mine. $5 million a year 3yrs. $5 milliopn a year is what he makes now. You make an idiot post then challenge my post.

Uh..... dumass, do the math, right now Bush's on pace to rush for over 1,700yds this season alone. Barring injury, rushing for at least 1,000yds this year is a mere formality. 2 straight 1,000yd rushing seasons happening right before your eyes and you post pure garbage to me.

Are you on drugs? Bush isnt resigning for the exact same money he's makin g now. Boy am I glad youre not gm. Get to drug rehab quick son!

DC @ 9:18am,

No question. You don't win in this league through FA adds. It's all scouting and drafting. Agree this next few will continue to be key.

Craig, probability says an RB at Bush's age shouldn't, but Bush has that blend of star and smarts that might counteract his desire for a huge payday. This guy (like JT) probably sees a bright future post-football career. I'm not sure his sole motivation is money. He's already won a SB, so personal achievement (blending with possibly another SB appearance) might be playing an equally important role in him making his decision. He has had it good here. He was welcomed with open arms, trusted to carry the weight, and though it paid off, I think he values being in a place that really respects his talent.

That's not the usual characteristic of a professional athlete these days, but remember, this new CBA lessens the ability of vets to get huge payoffs. It's so much cheaper nowadays to sign younger players, from a business standpoint, it restricts a team's desire to offer huge sums of money to veteran players, and someone as astute as Reggie probably gets that.

I agree DC, it's a multiple-year process, and we aren't shopping for highly touted FAs thatwill only be here for two years (though I want Bush for 2 years to mentor). And I agree you don't overpay for any of our FAs except Solai. That dude takes up 2 blockers, forces runs outside cause he clogs the middle. We're a top 5 run defense every year cause of him

I have a bad feeling we may not have a chance of signing him. I have to think he is looking for max $$ which I guess we do not have with the cap space.

I hope we can sign him though


I'm not in the mood today bud, so f8ck off!!

You're the idiot who said he'd run for 1,000 yards a season until age 32. Do we need to mention Vince Young and Sparano again?

I would bet if I went back a year you were one of the ones criticizing Ireland for trading for Bush. Now you want to hand him $40 million.

If you'd bothered to read my post I said if we can sign him for 3 years and $15mil then great but we're 'dreaming'. A little more time spent understanding what people are saying and a little less time spent trying to sound like Einstein would be good advice for you to take.

You have a young asss qb, who's going to make mistakes, at least for the next few years. But you let a rb walk who's a homerun threat from anywhere on the field walk.

CraigM, dumbass, the homerun threat makes the young qb's job much easier. That 65yd td run didnt give you a clue Sunday idiot? It gets your young qb off the field with points on the scoreboard and helps keep him turnover free(picks).

CraigM's such the dumass! LOL

To say a guy is 'on pace for 1700 yards after only TWO games' is one of the most absurd comments I've ever heard. What did you say after Eli Manning's game Sunday? 'He's on pace to throw for 8,000 yards this year'. Just INCREDIBLE! I'm sure we expect Bush to run for 170 yards every game from here on out. 'He only ran for 110 this week. What's wrong with him?'


U guys are complaining about The Franchise's Deal. Which at the end will be for THE SAME as his last Deal. About $12 Mil a Season(5yr/$58mil). Mr. Joe Thomas signed a 7yr/$84mil. So Expect Jake Long To Own him Again as Usual. First O-Linemen in History to Sign a $100 Mil contract! Yes, Start throwing peanuts, from the Peanut Gallery!! 8yr/$100 Mil. Same Contract with a $1 Mil a Year Bonus(For Inflation). Jake will be 34 at the End of the Deal. And at the End of A Great Career!!! So Get off his Jock!! At least 6 More Probowls. After he Becomes a 10x PBwler and 3x Time SBwl Champ. Jake can Retire.

Reggie Bush Came here For a Discount to Prove he was a Every Down back. 2yr/ $10 Mil.

D.Williams signed a 5/$43 Mil Deal and Bradshaw 4/$18Mil. Remember that WE WERE NEGOTIATING WITH BOTH AND DECIDED REGGIE WAS CHEAPER(Bradshaw wanted Williams Money at the time from us). Good Move Ireland

McCoy Signed a 5/$45 Mil deal. Ray Rice Signed a 5/$40 Mil. And Forte Signed for 4/$32 Mil. The Average Deal is For $8 Mil a Year.

So look for Reggie to sign something like Forte or better. 4/$36 Mil. Which is OK With Dashi.

Cause again D.Thomas Looks like R.Brown. Injury Prone and Runs without Passiion. All the Talent in the World, but Real RB's want it!

L.Miller has show more in his 1st game than Thomas did all last season. That 1 Carry when Reggie took it all the Way Down and they Bring Miller in and he scores on his 1st carry. Thurman Thomas Like, Ricky Williams Like(Without the SuperPowers). The Patience to let it Develop and then attack the Right Hole.

Maybe We Can trade Thomas in the Off-Season for a 3rd? All Right Everyone let's hope Thomas has a Good Season to trade him for more picks. Bush and Miller, With Lane For Short Yardage!! Then Spend a low rd Pick on a RB. And Give Thighpen some Snaps. But we are stocked at Rb's. The BallBoy Might not know what a Wr looks like from a CB. But Watching Sweetness Growing up he must've remembered what a Real RB looks like.

Remember D.Thomas Was Chosen because he can Run the WildCat!! He's a Good Rb but just a little to soft for my Taste. Dashi likes his Rb's to Give Concussions, not Take Them. Like RICKY WILLIAMS or J-TRAIN!

I've Seen Ricky Seperate a Guys Shoulder with a Hit!! True Story, I've Seen Ricky Jump over a guy and Run over a Guy in One Motion and not Lose Stride. The Human Wrecking Ball. JAVORSKI Is Just a BIG BOY.



At $5 million a year we have Bush for NFL peanuts right now. He's actually underpaid in comparison to nfl brand name stars. If Bush could be resigned for $8 million a year, that's absolutely nothing.

Dont listen to that fool CraigM, he's still working off the 1970's pay scale or something. He's jealous he's going to the grocer with his EBT welfare card.


You're completely incapabale of having a conversation about this stuff, so I'm not going to bother. You're the same guy who would be slamming Ireland two years from now if he have Bush the money and he got hurt and was never the same.

You're a classic 'FLIP-FLOP' and everyone knows it, so I'm not going to debate you on it because next week you'd be arguing the other side and it's not worth my time and effort.

Giving our GM/HC the benefit of the doubt, maybe Lamar Miller was brought in to become that home run threat should they lose Bush.

Yes, it's a big "IF", I realize that, but sometimes things happen as planned.


Sorry but Jake Long doesnt deserve to be the nfl's highest paid olineman, surpassing Joe Thomas. I would definitely give him top 5 olineman money though.

However, I would give him a comparable contract to Joe Thomas, but less of it would be guarranteed. He'll have to earn it with "play for pay".

I'm saying the pricetag on this thing is going to go to $35-45 million for Bush. That's INSANE money to be paying a guy on a rebuilding team. If we're not contending this year I would trade him. YEP. Not a popular opinion but if we can get a 2nd for him then I'd do it in a heartbeat. To me that's a dream too. So do you keep him or trade him for a 4th? That's the real question.

Pay the Man! But we all know how cheap
A s s. JI is and how stupid he is he will probably trade him. For a third round pick, it won't surprise me, but if I was the GM. I will pay the man. Give him a a two year extension, I won't give him a 4 year one because RB NFL are short. I like Bush he has proven his value.

The same guys that are saying 'pay the man' are also the same guys who criticize Ireland for the state of our slaray cap situation. You can't have both guys. It's like the US economy....let's spend and spend and spend and then wonder where all the money went.

$7-10 million a year for a 28 year od running back is not a good use of our reources for a rebuilding team and I'm a BIG Reggie Bush fan.


Youre just the CLASSIC BLOG IDIOT. Plus you think everyone else that totally disagrees with your gross lunacy is me under another screen name. Believe me dumass, Im not that obssessed with you. Just others here have the exact same viewpoint of you as I do.

Drug rehab is in your immediate future.

ray, Ireland's "cheap a s s" is what will bring down the CAP space. I'm trying to tell you people, this is the one thing we all should be approving of when it comes to our GM. You WANT them to be cheap. No team has unlimited funds they can use on talent. Yes, you have to spend money to be a competitive team, but if you overspend it's almost as bad as if you under spend.

CraigM @ 9:40 AM,

You just confirmed yourself blog idiot.No one trades for a guy in thier final contract year. Unless thier swapping one of thier players in his final contract year too.

See how idiotic your posts are. Son, drug rehab is really really close in your future. Stop fighting it. Help's only a phone call away.

dolfandave, no GM would trad a high draft choice for a RB. That's not the way it's done in the NFL, specially during the season. You franchise Bush, negotiate with Long. Phins have a LOT of contracts expiring this year including Hartline, Stark, Fasano, Smith, I think Dansby as well. So there are many decision to be made.

I agree with the posts from DC today. Good stuff!

I am a huge supporter of Bush, Long, and Starks. I want all three on this team if we can make money right.

I am less confident with Smith and Dansby. They are very inconsistent week to week.

So, if I were GM...I would build around the Offensive and Defensive systems.

West Coast Offense - Priorities are QB, Protecting the QB, solid route running WR's and a versatile RB. With a rookie QB you need a top running back to take the pressure off and keep the defense honest. When we showed balance in the first 2 games we moved the ball well. When we went pass happy in the 2nd QTR of both games we fell apart. Sherman needs to keep this in mind.

4-3 Defense - Priorities are DT's, DE's, shut down CB's and MLB. Our line is doing well and should improve throughout the year. Our line is swallowing up blockers and our LB's are making stops. We need shut down corners to allow our safeties to help LB's cover TE's.

I offer Bush top 5 money...if he takes it great. If not we go with the Thomas, Lane and Miller. If we need help we turn to the draft.

I offer Starks a reasonable contract to stay. Something below Solai. But this guy has been steady and he is never a problem. Sign him!

If Martin performs well this year we have insurance on Long. Offer Long top 5-10 money only.

Dansby is making too much now. I just don't see him staying. I see MLB being a draft or FA priority.

Smith needs to show he is an elite CB. If not, we offer him a fair contract to move to Nickel but not top 15 money.

We have a good opporutnity coming in the next draft with picks 1, 2, 2, 3 & 3. I think we can keep these top Fin's free agents and fill needs through the draft.

YG is right about last yr of contracts, specially a RB.


Last comment from me today to you, f*ck off!

You're incapable of talking about football without resorting to name-calling. The same guys who are saying 'sign Bush' will be the same guys who are saying 'we should have traded Bush for something when we could have' in 6 months time. It's the classic arm-chair QB. I have every reason to think you'll be leading the charge.

If Bush walks, the two primary places I see him going is San Francisco, or possibly reuniting with Pete Carroll(USC) in Seattle.

You can't spend if you're up against cap space. You just can. Because of expiring contracts, the Phins will be in good position with the cap next year. But not this year. That's why they weren't players in free agency.


Just so I'm clear. You would FRANCHISE Bush and run the risk of letting Long walk for nothing. Is that what you are saying? So you'd rather tie up what the average payday is for the top 5 RBS in the league, than have one of the top 3 LT's in the league? Is that what you're saying? Wow!

And how do you think Bush got those 178 yards on the weekend? Do you think he did it all himself?


Have you noticed I never post to you unless you start in with me? You always start with an attacking post to me then tell me I cant have a football conversation with insulting you. Boy are you stupid.

Idiot, you start all of this then in the end accuse me of being the provacator. Like I said, drug rehabs in your immediate future, stop fighting it. Help's only a phone call away. Just release the keyboard and pick up the phone.

They better resign Bush and make him the face of the team. He's been terrific.


We can free up cap space with Dansby too. If he doesnt have a high calibre pro bowl year, give him an ultimatum, restructure or get released. Dansby's ok, but not nearly good enough to eat the cap space he consumes.

Chad Johnson signing in Philly....

Dumass CraigM,

Long aint walking. How did Bush get those 178yds? Yeah he had blocking, but on the 65yd run that was only a 5yd gain for most nfl rb's. Then slowing marching downfield, your young qb runs risk of throwing a pick, even worse a pick 6 idiot.

Bush eliminated all of that in one swail swoosh! Take it to the house ability cant be underestimatd. We're not talking Ronnie Brown dumass. LOL

"slowly marching downfield"


Told you we were done today. There's only ONE guy who's continuing to go on.

By the way, what's with all the drug rehab comments? You seem to know an awful lot about it. Something you want to tell us? Not that any of us would be surprised.

A homerun hitting rb can erase alot of potential young qb mistakes(Tannehill).

Ordinarily for a RB, I'd say pass but this guy is a unique blend as a workhorse and explosive player perhaps only matched by CJ at the position. Deserves to be amongst the most highly paid at the position and given his relatively young age and low mileage - he has lots more tread left.

I agree out of all the names mentioned, I'd be most willing to part ways with Dansby. He's only a converted MLB, he's really an OLB.


You bring up a good comparison in CJ. If you could rewind the clock a couple of years do you think the Titans would like to re-do that contract? This is what can happen when you sign a guy to that kind of contract. I'm a big Bush fan but no way would I hand out a contract to a guy like that. There are other ways we could and should spend our money. Miller will grow into that role.

IT's Not What U want and How U Feel about Jake Long!

The Man Is LEGIT. Tell me how will it Look Jake is 1st team All-Pro and Starts Over Joe Thomas and Ryan Clady in the ProBowl. Yet HE GETS PAID LESS THAN THEM.

Joe Thomas has J.Martin Strength. Compared to the Hulk. Jake's Injury problem was Mismanagement from Sporano. Playing his best Player through injuries during the Regular Season. Because Sporano thinks there is no tomorrow. That's why Sporano never wanted to develop players. He thought every game was his last. Like every FG was the Last time his team will ever Score.


CJ doesn't make that team better. They're pretty bad and they're stuck with the contract. No room to go out and add the pieces they need to get better. Missed the playoffs last year and they are going to miss it again this year. It's a lot of money to tie up in a non-producing player.

Bush aint Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson's a buck 75 on a rainy day. Bush is a bigger version of Johnson if anything. Johnson doesnt have half Bush's work ethic either.


Agree on Jake Long....

Disagree on Bush....

I think your comparing apples and bowlig balls....

two totally diffent skill sets...to totally differnt values to the QB...and the offence in general....

Pretty good analysis there dASHI, i'D SAY 4 YEAR $36 would be a fair contract and I'd go for it if I was ireland.

YG is thick as molasses but he's right on in saying that Bush is our homerun hitter. They don't gorw on trees and we don;t have another one lying around. Maybe Miller but that's all he is - a maybe. Have Bush stick around a few more years and if Miller proves what some including myself becomes the similar player then you can trade Bush. No sense in letting the man walk.

YG I know YOU FEEL Craigs posts can come off condescending but he never called you any names. I just don't know how you guys were having a debate that turned into you calling him dumb, idiot, fool, asked if he was on drugs, said he was on welfare.

WTF? Why not just be the bigger man? If you think he's been condescending just kill him with kindness. I read the whole back and forth and you could have come out of that smelling like roses. Instead, YOU ended up looking like the aggressor. Just sayin man, there are better ways.

Craig M, yes I would take that chance any time. You can't afford to let Bush go, and you can't chance signing a 28 year old RB to a long term deal, so you franchise him. Long is not the same LT he was 2 years ago. He's a step slower because of injuries, he's also not a good fit for the WC offense. Although athletic, he's not athletic enough to be a great fit. A power running offense he would be a much better fit, and would be more valuable.

Reggie Bush,

Showed that hard work pays off. I don't know if he always worked this hard in New Orleans or not but even in NO he was a playmaker who you had to account for and was a Super Bowl winner. In Miami he is showing that his hard work is paying off. He has that first guy in, last guy out and then some mentality. Even on Hard Knocks, I believe it was Sherman who said he wished every player was like Reggie Bush or something to that effect.

Reggie should be re-paid for doing everything the right way and being a professional. He also is highly productive and just 27 years old. Pay the man!

This team cant allow any talent to leave. Even if they have to overpay them. The talent coming in is a trickle.

Monte, you can't overpay for talent with the cap. That's how teams get on cap problems, over you have to hit on every signing.

mike, we disagree.


It's becoming popular on here to slam Jake Long and I'm not quite sure why? Is it because he makes a lot of money? Because he was the number on pick and many feel it should have beem Matt Ryan? None of that was Jake's fault. Guy just goes out game after game and makes Pro Bowls at the end of the year. I think guys forget how much juggling and switching has been done on this line. The one constant? Jake Long.

It'll take Jake Long NOT to be here for people to appreciate just how good he was. Yeah I know, we've never won with him here. Let's see how it goes then with some replacement and guys getting to Tanehill more often. MANY teams like St. Louis thought they had their LT for the next ten years and it just hasn't worked out. That's what we'll be opening ourselves up to. Fuuny, enough people complained about RT last year. It'll get a Hell of a lot worse if LT is a question mark.

I'd advocate for a 3-4 year deal with Reggie (5 is pushing it) and putting the franchise tag on Long. That gives you a little wiggle room until you can a) work out a long-term deal, b) see if Martin can replace him, or c) find a replacement in the draft to groom.


Kris, I don't believe giving Chris Johnson mega-money was a great deal for the Titans. Look at what he's done since. It's human nature than when you're no longer hungry, you get lazy. We need hungry players, not lazy players. Give Bush tons of money, and he won't get MORE effective, most likely (and if past is prologue) he'll become less effective.

Anyway, this isn't an argument worth having, because I believe Ireland (if he's GM) will never offer Bush gobs of cash to stay. Not in his character.

I'm not complaining about Long, I still think he's a very good T. I just don't think his skills match well for the type of offense the Phins run. I also think that he has slowed a but because of injuries. He's still very good, but is he better than Thomas, no, Clady, no, I think he's more on the Joe Staley, Duane Brown level.


I agree with your last comment.

Probably the best value draft pick on the team is Paul Solai and Cameron gets the credit for drafting him.

You have to pay Long what he's worth, not at an inflated level. By franchising Long you'll be paying Long a lot more than by franchising Bush. The top 5 RB's aren't paid as well as top 5 T's.


We don't agree. Like I said it's become popular to slam Long. Whatever. He'll continue to show game in game out and let's see what the franchise thinks of him at the end of the year. Let him go and you're just giving someone a very productive LT for the next 5-6 years.

If they sign him GREAT!

But if Miller shows he can be a Reggie type back you can kiss Bush goodbye (no pun intended). Joe is building the wco and it relies more heavily on WRs and Tes so that is where the money should and probably will be invested.

The reason they are running so much is because they don't have the pieces yet to run Joes offense the way he sees fit. They have to rely on the run more this season and have already showed they understand that, (refreshing that the coaches are playing to the teams and players strengths right? F*&^ing Sparano). But moving forward this is not the vision Joe has in mind, lots of passes and YAC are what he wants.

If Miller and/or Thomas don't burst on the scene I believe they WILL sign Bush as insurance in case they don't get the right pieces for the wco right away.

And here is why I believe they will resign him. Here is a list of free agent running backs next season.

Ricky Williams – BAL
Corey McIntyre – BUF
Mike Goodson – CAR
Marion Barber – CHI
Bernard Scott – CIN
Brandon Jackson – CLE
Felix Jones – DAL
Rashard Jennings – JAC
Reggie Bush – MIA
Danny Woodhead – NE
Chris Ivory – NO (R)
D.J. Ware – NYG
Shonn Greene – NYJ
Jonathan Dwyer – PIT (R)
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT
Javon Ringer – TEN
Ryan Torrain – WAS
Darrel Young – WAS (R)

A list of mostly crap. Reggie is the best RB on that list. And the team isn't going to invest another draft pick, at least not one in the top 4 rounds, in another running back after doing so for two consecutive years.

If Long is healthy they should pay him.

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