Let’s start with the facts. The 2011 season is the last on Bush’s contract, and he is scheduled to count a whopping $16 million against the salary cap, with $11.8 million coming in base salary. Another $1 million of that figure comes from the prorated renegotiation bonus Bush received when he restructured his contract in 2008.
Let’s assume that a labor agreement is reached and the new rules are similar to the old ones. The Saints have a bunch of potential free agents they likely will try to re-sign, and Bush’s cap figure could make that difficult. But it’s not a given that they’ll send Bush packing, even though they could save his base salary. They still would be on the hook for $4.2 million against the cap if they were to release Bush.
Although he never has lived up to the hype that came when he was drafted No. 2 overall, management and coaches have remained high on Bush. Again, assuming a labor agreement is reached, one possible scenario would be to sign Bush to a contract extension. The Saints could structure the deal to knock Bush’s cap figure down dramatically for 2011.