Can Bears maximize Michael Bush?

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/

    Can Bears maximize Michael Bush?
    February, 21, 2014
    11:53 AM ET
    By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s hard to blame the Chicago Bears for signing veteran tailback Michael Bush to a four-year, $14 million contract in 2012 that included $7 million in total guarantees.

    With starting running back Matt Forte locked in a contract dispute with the club after receiving the franchise tag following the 2011 regular season, the Bears needed to protect themselves in case Forte and the team were unable to reach a long-term agreement. Forte had also missed the final four games that year with a knee injury.
    In the end, Forte and the Bears reached an accord on a four-year deal and Bush spent the last two seasons as a part-time player in the Bears’ offense.

    Last year, despite eating up $3.550 million worth of salary-cap space, Bush carried the ball a career-low 63 times for 197 yards (3.1 yards per rush) and caught the ball just four times for 48 yards.

    Can the Bears get more bang for their buck out of Bush, who is scheduled to count $3.850 million against the cap in 2014?

    “I think, No. 1, it was very difficult to take Matt off the field, and it was very impressive that he had the endurance to do what he did this year,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said at the NFL combine. “There were times that we just felt we had a plan to play Michael more, the defense may have been on the field, and Matt had a good enough rest so we kept Matt out there and didn’t get Michael on as much as we would’ve liked to. We had a plan but we didn’t execute it. A lot of that, going in, was Matt’s productivity.

    I’ve experienced this in Oakland when we had Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner. There’s a place, certainly, for that type of back. If you have a system of football that’s flexible enough, you can seamlessly make that transition and still be just as effective.”

    If the Bears decide to cut ties with Bush, the organization would still be on the hook for $2 million worth of dead salary cap space -- the remaining balance of Bush’s prorated $4 million signing bonus. But it’s unclear whether the Bears believe second-year running back Michael Ford is ready to assume the role as the team’s No. 2 tailback. The 5-foot-10 Ford played on special teams last year where he appeared in 12 games and returned five kickoffs for 37 yards and made five special-teams tackles. Ford’s 2014 salary cap number is projected to be $496,166.


    For the cost, I think the team could afford to eat that contract over 2-3years(I've heard that is an option) and let someone like Ford or a late round pick get a crack at backup rb at a fraction of the cost.

    This has nothing to do w/Bush's ability, but everything to do w/Forte being to valuable to take off the field. I know a lot of people worry about his touches so I'll do some work about touches, age, and when RB's fall off the cliff to show why he's going to be okay. Also keep in mind, a good portion of his touches come from Rec's, and running outside of the tackles so he's not getting hit by the DL as often as some of these other "true rb's".
  2. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Messages:
    19,393
    Likes Received:
    2,230
    Ratings:
    +2,428 / 8 / -10
    ßearz ßuckz:
    351ß
    If they keep him, yes. He's faster than he's given credit for, and Trestman was finding more efficient ways of using him towards the end of the season than just as a bruiser.
  3. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    260
    Ratings:
    +281 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    20ß
    We were lucky that Forte stayed healthy last year. For 4 million Bush is a good insurance policy.

    Last year it was more of Forte being good and bush did not get too many touches, and when he did the defense keyed in on him.
  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    For me it's not age of a rb, but attempts, specifically rush attempts that age a RB, in the mid 2000's, at the height of the Shawn Alexander, Ladamian Tolminson, Larry Johnson rb craze I heard someone on the radio talking about rb's, and how 350 rushes was the breaking point, it's been a long time so maybe if i'm interested I'll try and find an article, but basically 350 rushes, was what tended to break a rb down and age them prematurely. I don't think it even takes that much, I personally believe that anything over 300 rush attempts over a prolonged career can break a rb down before 30. So going on that theory you can see why in their late 20's guys like Alexander, and Larry Johnson LT at broke down, and the others, while guys like Frank Gore are able to play and be productive into his 30's:

    Shawn Alexander seems to be the poster boy for why you worry about RB's as they get into their late 20's and nearly 30. But not age, rush attempts were what aged him Shawn had 4 years over 300 rushes, 1 at 295 before he fell off the cliff, 2 of those 5 consecutive years were 350 and 370, his last 2 he was done after that.

    Larry Johnson was broken down by KC in just 2 years, while he never had 3-4-5 years of 300+ or even multiple years of 350 rushing attempts, in 2 years he had 330 and 416 rushes attempts , after the 400 attempt season he was never the same.

    LT SD largely limited his rush attempts to 330 or less but unlike LT and SA,his 2nd year did he have over 350 attempts, and only 1 time after that, 3 years later did he have close to 350(348). Bit he had 8 straight years of 330 or more and then was largely limited.

    All three of these rb's were the workhorses of their teams and by 28 they were all done, now lets look at some guys that were very productive after their late 20's:

    Frank Gore has not once has a 300 rush attempt season, Last year he was 30 and had almost 1300 total yards and 9 td's.

    Thomas Jones was productive until 31, he had 3 seasons of 300-330 rush attempts, while he didn't get to be "the man" season one, he did have 7 1K plus seasons most of which came in his late 20's, and his limited touches early on seemed to have extended his career some.

    Matt Forte on the other hand has had 1 year of 300+ rushes, his rookie year, and it was 316, he's never had 350 rushes in a year or even 330, which as shown by LT over multiple seasons can also shorten a career. Forte also has never been one to run between the tackles like any of the above RB's did.

    While Forte might be getting older, and edging towards 30, his limited rush attempts, and even more limited hits by 280-300+ lb angry linement has been very limited. So while it's always wise to have a good backup rb the idea that somehow Forte is about to hit the wall b/c of his age is way off base. Even if you want to look at rec's added in, he's only had 2 years of 350 touches, compared to SA who had 5 straight years of 350 touches, LT had his 2, and LT had 6 years near 400-450 touches, LT is a HoF'r and a freak mind you, a throwback to the 80's and 90's rb's).

    All that said, Forte should be good to finish out his contract as the starter and workhorse of the Bears and while I'd like to see a good rb behind him, I don't know that a 4mil vet is required.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Seqq34

    Seqq34 Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    45
    Ratings:
    +51 / 1 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    14ß
    I wish they never would have signed Bush. I know some people like him, but i just think he's slow footed. I guess the way i'm thinking of it now is that explosiveness is a value in the NFL...Bush is not explosive.
    Find a young kid who has some spark to help ignite things as a backup role. Easier said then done i know.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    147
    Ratings:
    +184 / 2 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    280ß
    The problem with Bush is they use him as an afterthought ... play him ...let him get warmed up.

    Then he scores.
  7. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    JJ problem with that is that you take Forte off the field to let Bush get warmed up; whats the point in that he's not even a fraction of the talent Forte is, and you are paying Forte much more. Would you take Marshal off the field to play Earl Bennett so he could get warmed up? Are you taking Marty B off the field for a series to let Donte Rosario get warmed up? No, and you are not taking the most dangerous rb on your team off the field to let his backup get warmed up either.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,303
    Likes Received:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +1,175 / 0 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    52ß
    Bush would flourish more if we had more punch up front (see Garza). Don't know if Bush would take a cut in pay but if we got a better center I'd definitely try to retain him
  9. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    I'm not talking poorly on Bush, Bush is a good backup rb, or a really good tandem rb for a team that doesn't have a top 5 rb. But there is no need for him on the Bears making 4mil, but if you let him go you need to replace him w/a rookie RB in the late rounds of the draft so that you can have someone behind or in front of Ford, depending on how he performs IF Forte were to get hurt.

    Both Forte and Bush would do better w/better run blocking, as good as the OL was at pass protection they were not as good at run blocking.
  10. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    147
    Ratings:
    +184 / 2 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    280ß
    Hey Ric you said it yourself if sombody gets injured we better have a backup.

    Do you realize that Bush hasnt done anything since hes been with DA BEARS ?

    Do you know what fresh legs means ?

    Heres somthing I know that you dont know also being an Oakland Raiders fan ...

    Darren McFaddon went down like clockwork to injury ... when Bush was with Da Raiduhs,

    he was da Raiduhs RB. Look up the numbers.

    If you can find me a better RB to back up Forte ... name names.
  11. Bearstuff

    Bearstuff Yes, in the woods. Staff Member SuperFan

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    29,531
    Likes Received:
    913
    Ratings:
    +1,059 / 3 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    408ß
    If you ask me Michael Bush and Tyronne Wheatley are essentially the same person, so I could see Trestman's comments being honest and open. However, I think Rb's are the easiest position on the team to fill. There is a glut of them in the draft, on practice squads and in free agency.

    If the game is save against the cap, and I think it is, Bush is designated as a June 1 cut to spread the cap hit out...meaning he would only cost $1mm. We can use the $2.8mm in extra cap space. Also, it's important to remember that we've already paid the cash to the man....cap is one thing, but the Bears are always mindful of cashflow.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Ratings:
    +2,119 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    414ß
    I agree with all of that. I'd also add that it seems like the RB position is one of the easier ones to fill - especially a backup RB. I look at the $4-mil we're paying for a backup RB, and can't help but think we could use some of that money elsewhere. I'd rather see us spend a couple mil on our backup QB (McCown)......or maybe just have more money to re-sign another guy we need to keep. I 100% agree with the blocking comment.....our run-blocking needs to get significantly better.
  13. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,053
    Likes Received:
    911
    Ratings:
    +1,086 / 1 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    111ß
    Bush and Earl Bennett are pretty much in the same boat IMO. There both decent "backup" players in their respective positions who currently are being paid/have cap hits that can't be justified by what they now add to the overall team. Both of them have players ahead of them on the depth chart (Forte and Marshall/Jeffery) who are way better and too valuable to keep off the field very much so Bush and Earl get limited touches/targets.

    Bush was signed to an overly generous contract as an insurance policy at a time when Forte was no longer under contract and threatening to hold out.
    Bennett was likewise signed by JA back when he was our only viable WR (hard to believe but Earl was a our best WR just a couple years ago).
    Neither condition applies any longer.

    Both of them have younger/cheaper players who are threatening to take their job (Ford/draftee and Wilson). I am assuming the team is going to ask both of them to renegotiate and take substantial pay cuts or be released after FA and the draft have passed.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    147
    Ratings:
    +184 / 2 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    280ß
    If we could redo Bush's contract then keep him. I cant find anybody better if the price is right.

    Bennett ... outshadowed by bigger and better WR's. And yes ... Hester is in that catagory also.
  15. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    Those are 2 good points, something that a lot of fans forget, cap and cashflow are 2 different things; and while it seems a given that both are going to be cap casualties b/c of their cost to play ratio the team might not want to pay them and someone else to replace them.

    JJ, I'm aware of fresh legs and that Bush hasn't done anything since arriving here. I'm also aware that Ford is younger, cheaper and has even fresher legs and can ride the pine just as well as Bush can; and so could any # of late round to UDFA picks. He needs to take a substantial paycut to stay here, and if he's not willing to(and I'm not sure he should) then he should get cut to allow him to go somewhere else and get paid better w/a better shot to play.
  16. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    260
    Ratings:
    +281 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    20ß
    I just remember the year we had to start our AP due to injuries, and if you look around the league last year when the starting RB goes down it has a huge impact.

    We need a good back up and Bush is about the best back up we can find.
    If they can get him to take a pay cut, then good, but I doubt he will.

    I'm not sure I would want Ford as the backup, because we really know nothing about him.
  17. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Ratings:
    +2,119 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    414ß
    There have always been teams that have solid running games when the starter goes down. Some of the Denver teams of the past would be down to their 3rd string RB, and still be dangerous with the run game. Of course you have to have an offensive line that can run block. We don't have that yet.
  18. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    Look at Hou a few years ago, they damn near made a star out of their 3rd stringer. Den, like JABF said, has always seems had a good deep RB group. And I remember AP doing okay when he came in. It had to be the 07 season b/c it's the only time he had over 100 touches for the Bears. running the b all he averaged 3.4 yards but avg'd over 8 yards per recs. In 230 touches he had 930 yards, not to shabby, and the 07 season was right about when that OL started to fall apart.

    The trick is the GM/HC having the ability to find a quality rb late(they are out there). You don't need a starter in the making, or a former starter. You just need a guy that can play, and like OG's and C's, you can get them all over the draft w/regularity, and it's a lot cheaper then paying a guy 4mil to ride the pine as an insurance policy.
  19. a_miljan

    a_miljan Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2013
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    239
    Ratings:
    +268 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    36ß
    ur right Ric, but remember Fortes contract issues and the moment they gave Bush big bucks - insurance policy
  20. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    21,056
    Likes Received:
    2,337
    Ratings:
    +2,697 / 8 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    640ß
    a, I understood why they did it at the time, didn't like it, thought they should have just given that money to Forte and drafted one, would have killed 2 birds; now the team is dealing w/the repurcussions. They never needed a big time vet backup, which they have always felt the need to put behind Forte, they needed an OL that could actually hold a line and a scheme that actually worked.
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page