Michael Bush has just agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears on the biggest contract a running back has signed during this 2012 NFL Free Agency frenzy. A league source tells PFT’s Mike Florio that the four-year deal is worth $14 million, with $7 million guaranteed.
The 6-1, 245-pound back was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft and has spent his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders before hitting the open market. Bush has steadily improved overall on the stats sheet with each passing year in the NFL.
He played 15 games (no starts) in his rookie year, rushing for 421 yards on 95 carries (4.4 YPC) and three touchdowns with 19 receptions for 162 yards. Bush started seven contests and played in every game in ’09, chalking up 589 yards on 123 carries (4.8 YPC) and three touchdowns with 17 catches for 105 yards to boot.
The Louisville alum started three games and played in 14 contests in 2010, but brought his numbers up to 655 yards on 158 carries (4.1 YPC) and eight touchdowns with 18 receptions for 194 yards through the air.
With Darren McFadden down for an extended amount of time, Bush comes off his best season yet in terms of overall production, with 977 yards on 256 carries (3.8 AVG) and seven scores in 16 games and nine starts last year. He also had 37 catches for 418 yards and a touchdown in the aerial attack.
The 1-2 RB punches and running back-by-committees have swept across the landscape of the league. While it doesn’t help the position in terms of compensation, as Bush’s deal isn’t much better than a couple of kickers in Ryan Longwell and Olindo Mare, who both signed $12 million deals for four years last season, it should help maximize the longevity of their careers and surely creates more headaches for opposing defenses.
Chicago is clearly getting a quality back in Bush without breaking the bank, which could be bad news for Bears RB Matt Forte, who had his sights set on a much-deserved rich, long-term contract.
The team might not feel as desperate to keep him in the fold. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
I think it’s safe to say that with every new added weapon on offense, Jay Cutler looks a little less lethargic.