In the final analysis, the contract of Reggie Bush turned out to a burning bush for the New Orleans Saints, apparently too hot to handle to hold on to it.
Bush agreed to a $9.5 million contract over two years ($5 million in '11, $4.5 million in '12), according to ProFootballTalk at NBCSports. The 2011 salary with be an even split of signing bonus ($2.5M) and salary ($2.5M).
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Bush accepted the terms of a two-year contract with the Dolphins overnight after the New Orleans Saints negotiated a the parameters of a deal to trade Bush late Wednesday evening. Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer was the first to report the trade agreement.
Saints will receive second-year safety Jonathon Amaya as part of the compensation in the trade, according to an ESPN report. The Nevada product led the Dolphins in special teams tackles as a rookie despie playing in just the final 10 games during the 2010 season. Amaya likely impressed while playing under former Miami special teams coach John Bonamego, now as assistant with the Saints.
Expect Payton to address the trade at a press conference previously scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
While the Saints would loved to have retained Bush, the cost was too steep moving forward for a solid contributor who was not an elite, star-level player.
Bush was due to make $11.8 million in 2011 which would have counted a hefty $16 million against the salary cap for the Saints, a huge hit.
While Bush has not lived up to the #2 overall draft status which he was chosen at in 2006, he was a productive player for New Orleans when healthy.
Bush rushed for 2,090 yards in five seasons, averaging 418 yards per year, rushing for 17 scores while averaging four yards per carry. He was a more valuable receiver, outstanding in that area.
Bush caught 294 passes for 2,142 yards and 12 touchdowns, an average of 59 catches per season. He ranks first in yards-per-catch at 7.3 yards per reception among NFL running backs during his five-year span in the league and ranks second with 12 touchdown receptions among NFL running backs during that time.
Bush returned 92 punts for 720 yards and four touchdowns, an average of 7.8 yards per return. He returned one kickoff for 32 yards.
The biggest issue for Bush was a lack of durability.
Despite averaging just 10.5 carries per game and 17.6 touches per game, Bush missed 20 of 80 games (25%) in his five seasons with New Orleans. The only season in which he played in all 16 games was his rookie year, where he played in all 16 contests and had a career-high 1,523 total yards and nine touchdowns, tying a career high.
One negative for Bush was the fact that he fumbled 19 times on plays from scrimmage, averaging 3.8 per season. He fumbled several punts as well.
Bush became expendable in New Orleans with the drafting of Mark Ingram in the first-round of the 2011 NFL draft. With Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, the Saints appear set at running back though none of the three has the receiving skills, kick return ability or speed of Bush.
Bottom line if the trade goes through--Bush was a good, not great player who will not be missed in the running game though his ability to break a punt return will be missed. What will be missed most is his unique skill set in the passing game. He was a luxury the Saints wanted to keep but simply could not afford.
Bush leaves the Saints with a Super Bowl ring and shows class doing it. He used his Twitter account (@reggie_bush) to express appreciation for the Saints organization and New Orleans itself:
To the city of New Orleans you will always have a place in my heart I love you guys your are my family & I will never forget our good times
I wish the New Orleans Saints the best of luck I will always be a fan! The team, coaches, and fans will be deeply missed!
Change is never easy but I look forward to building something special in Miami and can't wait to embark on this new journey! Here we go...
As Moses did with the chosen ones, Bush helped lead the Saints out of the captivity of futility to the Promised Land with the team's victory in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints chose Bush and then chose to part ways with him.
Reggie was a good fit with Payton and his offensive schemes. He helped open up things for others. He will be missed but his proverbial bush may never burn as bright as it did wearing black and gold.
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