Reggie Bush entered the 2012 season with the goal of leading the NFL in rushing. This is a contract year for Bush, and the new Joe Philbin regime was very impressed with his work ethic. The Miami Dolphins are on a three game losing streak, and their offense has regressed (especially the running game…article on struggling Dolphins offense is HERE … article on Dolphins impending free-agents is HERE). The decline has lead to rumors that Bush may have just 6 weeks remaining as a ‘Phin.
Two weeks ago, Bush was benched following a 1st quarter fumble at home vs the Tennessee Titans. He claimed it was the first time at any level that he has had to endure a benching. Bush took to twitter to apologize for his declining play, but the subsequent results have been bad, which has furthered the speculation that he is almost done in Miami.
The Dolphins have a second year back in Daniel Thomas that has been very underwhelming, and a rookie RB in Lamar Miller that has struggled so much to pick up blitzers that he has earned practically no playing time (cannot have the franchise QB Ryan Tannehill in harms way because a rookie is having problems picking up blitzers). Despite the RB cupboard being fairly empty, we still see Bush getting less work weekly.
The top 20 RBs in the NFL average a salary of $6 million per season. Bush currently makes just under $5 million, so we know he will be seeking a raise. This Dolphins franchise is seeing their relevance plummet annually. Fans are staying away from home games in massive (and increasing) numbers. Can the ‘Phins afford top re-up with a guy who is seemingly on the decline?
I can’t say the RB free-agent market is stacked, but the cost of re-signing Bush may not be worth it. Rashard Mendenhall, Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones, Shonn Greene and Danny Woodhead are all available and could have a lower price-tag than Bush.
In the past games Bush is averaging 10 carries for 31 yards. Yikes. The word is he is in the Philbin doghouse. Philbin plays his cards close to his chest so he denies any doghouse, but the play-calling and playing time for Bush have seen significant changes.
Take out the New York Jets game in week 3 (Bush was injured in that game and did not play much) and we see Bush was on the field for an average of 47 plays for the first several weeks of 2012. Quick math will tell you that 1/2 of 47 is 23.5. In the past 4 games Bush is averaging just 23.5 plays, so his on-field opportunities are now officially half of what they were. The team is losing games, yet Bush is getting half as many snaps as before. That smells like a doghouse to me.
It does look like Bush has six weeks remaining in his Dolphins career unless he can turn things around sharply, and perhaps even settle for a smaller contract than he has now.
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