It’s official. Oakland running back Michael Bush is a restricted free agent. The NFL just released its free-agency list.
Bush’s name was listed among the restricted free agents. That market is usually nonexistent, and it is expected that it likely will be particularly dead this summer. So the Darren McFadden-Bush tandem -- which led Oakland to the No. 2 running game in the NFL last season -- should be back in business in 2011. Bush is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2012 if Oakland doesn’t extend him.
It was reported widely earlier this offseason that Bush would be unrestricted. But he spent his first season (2007) on the non-football injury list. He was hurt in college and it didn’t count as an NFL injury, so that season did not count. This is a dose of good news for Oakland, which has several key free agents to address.
Meanwhile, expect this week to be off-the-charts busy. Teams can start talking to prospective free agents Tuesday morning. They cannot sign players until Friday. I talked to several agents Monday, and they expect this process to be the wild, wild West. One agent said teams and players will have to live up to the “honor system.” Handshake agreements will be made, but nothing will be official until Friday.
I expect to see some controversy this week. I could see an agreement reported and then another team come in and sweeten the pot for a player before he signs. It’s going to be chaos.