It is looking like Reggie Bush and the Miami Dolphins are far apart on contract terms and the word out of Florida is that the ‘Phins would be fine with the idea of having Lamar Miller be their lightning running back to go with Daniel Thomas (I personally would love to see an upgrade for Thomas as the thunder running back, but that is for another day – plus if you would like you can check out my Jonas Gray article HERE).
The idea that Miller can be a top running back seems to be a bit of a change in thinking for the Dolphins as yes they did draft him, but he was barely on the field more than Legedu Naanee who was released very early in the season. In all Miller was in on just over 140 plays this season, and only had as many as 10 carries twice in the nine games that he played in (five carries per game average for the rookie out of the University of Miami). Despite limited action it is still worth noting that Miller averaged 4.9 yards per carry.
Early in the season it was clear that Miller required big improvements to his blitz pick-ups and pass protection so the team was not about to allow their franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be in harms way meaning Bush and Thomas saw the vast majority of playing time. What confused me is late in the season it seemed that Thomas’ protection regressed and Miller actually was looking better in his brief appearances so I (like many Dolfans) thought that more playing time for Miller was warranted, but it did not really come which makes the idea of now starting him a somewhat surprising one.
I think that his skill-set can be great for the offense that Miami wants to run as he is a guy that is bigger and faster than Bush and Miller will attack holes running north-to-south while Bush seemed to juke way too often this season (often losing yards trying to create a big play…Miller has a more natural ability to be a home run hitter for the Dolphins in my opinion).
Miami has money to spend, but they are not willing to overpay for Bush, especially if they feel Miller can be their guy going forward. In the next three seasons Miller will make a combined total of approx $1.65 million so if he can step up his game he could become one of the best values on this team which could allow salary cap space to be spent on upgrades to the wide receiver and tight end spot (plus I would like to see money spent on the secondary and offensive line for upgrades).
I thought the Dolphins would re-up with Bush, and looking like they would be fine starting Miller may be a tactic to reduce Bush’s salary request, but even if Miami goes with Miller I would be optimistic about that as I have liked this player since his days at The U.