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Could Reggie Bush be next for Saints?

2/22/2011

With the New Orleans Saints’ release of Jeremy Shockey on Tuesday, there comes an obvious question. Who’s next?

If you’re thinking the answer is Reggie Bush, you might be right. And you might be wrong. This one is going to be a very tough call and I’m glad I don’t have to make it. Coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis will have to make the decision and let’s take a glance at some of the numbers they’ll be looking at.

Bush is scheduled to make $11.8 million in base salary in the final season of his contract. More importantly, he’s scheduled to have a $16 million cap figure. Assuming a labor deal gets done and there is a salary cap, there’s no way Bush will play at that figure.

That leaves the Saints with two choices. They could talk to Bush about a contract extension that would spread this year’s base salary over more years and make this season’s cap figure much more friendly. Say what you want about Bush and how he hasn’t lived up to his college hype, but I think the Saints see him as a unique and valuable player. They seem to have a real affinity for them and Bush seems to like the organization and the New Orleans area. If that’s all true, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to work out a deal to keep everyone happy.

The other option would be to cut Bush. The Saints would free up $12.6 million by doing that. But they still would be on the hook for $3.4 million in cap space. That’s a lot of money to count toward a player no longer on your roster, especially when there are ways to keep him on your roster and make him fit nicely by making some contract adjustments. Remember, the Saints are likely to let Pierre Thomas walk into free agency. If they don't have Bush, they would be down to just Chris Ivory and whoever they bring in at running back.