The Arizona Cardinals have some needs to fill this offseason on the offensive side of the ball. One of them is the depth of their backfield, with the team expressing a desire to add some extra bodies in case of injuries, which has hurt them the last few seasons. If Reggie Bush makes it to free agency, could he be a fit in the desert?
The need for Arizona is obvious. The team’s top two backs, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, have had nothing but trouble staying on the field over the last two seasons. Wells was heavily limited last season due to turf toe and Williams has played in just five games since being drafted in 2011 out of Virginia Tech. The Cardinals’ No. 32 ranked rushing offense needs playmakers that can stay on the field.
Enter Bush, who has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts with the Miami Dolphins over the last two seasons. Originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Bush left the Big Easy after the 2010 season with a reputation of being “soft” and was largely considered a bust. He changed those perceptions quickly in South Beach, breaking the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career in 2011, finishing with 1,086 yards while averaging 5.0 yards per carry (his previous career high was 581 yards in 2007).
Over the last two seasons with the Dolphins, Bush has done everything right. He’s shown he can be a primary back, rushing for over 2,000 yards in his two campaigns with Miami and became a leader in the locker room. He’s also shown some toughness, playing in all but one game over the last two years after missing 20 games over his first five seasons. Bush feels that he’s done enough to earn a favorable pay-day from Miami, but the Dolphins seem to disagree.
Miami appears satisfied with the other running backs they have on the roster in Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, who are both younger and cheaper than Bush would be to bring back. The team is convinced the younger duo can handle the load for the Dolphins and aren’t that motivated to sign the former USC Trojan to a lucrative contract. They may offer him a team-friendly deal that would be below market value in the hopes that he would take a discount to stick around.
For a running back who thinks he’s just hitting his prime, however, that isn’t likely. The 27-year-old will likely test free agency and Arizona should be one of the first to meet him there. He would give the Cardinals another upright body for the backfield, which is a plus, along with some veteran leadership and a dash of playmaking ability. He won’t have to get every carry, but he’ll be a valuable contributor as the team tries to get Wells and Williams through an entire season.
So as Bush gets set to be brushed off by the Dolphins, the Cardinals should get their best pitch prepared. The team would get the depth they need in the backfield via free agency, allowing them to focus on some of their more fundamental issues in the upcoming draft. While it’s not either side’s first choice, likely, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that makes a lot of sense.