News hit the NFL wire late on Wednesday that former Heisman winning running back Reggie Bush has now been released by the Detroit Lions. Could the 29-year old back be heading to the Dallas Cowboys next to rejoining his old offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan?
With the future of Cowboys’ running backs DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar all in limbo right now, Bush coming to Dallas certainly makes some sense. But only in a reserve role. And only at the right price.
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Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014, is currently an unrestricted free agent. Despite attempts to re-sign the fourth-year back, it now appears DeMarco will test the free agency market next month in order to determine his value. That means there is a significant chance he plays elsewhere this season.
Randle is currently embroiled in a possible domestic violence case which, in combination with his arrest last year for shoplifting, could ultimately get him released from the team. And Dunbar is currently a restricted free agent.
All of which means the Cowboys are in the market for a veteran running back. But Dallas is not in the habit of signing aging superstar. Instead opting for the most part to sign younger players who have not lived up to expectations for one reason or another.
But could Bush be the exception to that rule? His connection to offensive coordinator Linehan could be the x-factor here.
Under Linehan in 2013, the former first round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of USC had one of the best years as a professional. The now ten-year veteran recorded 1,512 total yards of offense, only the second 1,000+ rushing yard season of his career, 54 receptions and seven total touchdowns.
Last season, Bush struggled with an ankle injury for most of the year and appeared in only 11 games for the Lions. Although he was able to record 40 catches, Reggie tallied just 297 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the season.
But Bush did seem to regain some of his burst and uncanny cutting ability near the end of the year. In the Lions’ playoff loss to the Cowboys in January, Reggie was able to rush for 37 yards and a score on eight carries against Dallas. He also had three receptions in the game.
Turning age 30 next month, the Lions opted to release the aging star partly due to his $3.25 million price tag in 2015. And Detroit’s young emerging backs, Theo Riddick and Joique Bell, also made him expendable.
Although Bush might not have what it takes to be a starting running back in the NFL anymore, his exceptional receiving skills could be an major asset in Dallas. Murray recorded 57 receptions and 416 yards as a receiver out of the backfield last season. Bush, in a reserve role for the Cowboys, could potentially put up similar numbers.
Coming off a down year, on top of his age, makes Bush a potential hidden gem in a free agent market that is oversaturated with running back talent. If he can be signed for something close to the league minimum, the Cowboys should at least consider the possibility of bringing the once game-breaking back to Dallas.