The irony of the Reggie Bush situation

July, 22, 2011
7/22/11
3:32
PM ET
Toward the end of Friday’s NFC South chat, loyal reader Richard from Ann Arbor, Mich., brought up an excellent point.
“Any explanation for why Reggie Bush, the 'overhyped, injury-prone bust' keeps getting brought up as a highly desirable free-agent?’’ Richard wrote.

Yep, it’s highly ironic that Bush, who is viewed by many as a “bust," suddenly seems like a superstar as people speculate that he could part ways with the New Orleans Saints. I’ve heard from a lot of Tampa Bay fans who seem to think Bush could help put the Bucs over the top. I’ve heard from a few Carolina fans who say Bush might be a good addition if DeAngelo Williams leaves. I’ve yet to hear any Atlanta fans pleading for Bush, but it’s still early.

Bush
First off, Bush remains property of the Saints. Although Bush made some early noise about wanting out when the Saints drafted Mark Ingram, he’s made more recent comments in which he has said he would like to stay in New Orleans.

That, of course, would require something to happen with Bush’s contract. He’s scheduled to make almost $12 million in base salary and count $16 million against this year’s salary cap. The Saints can’t afford that, and they’ve hinted many times they’d like to restructure Bush’s contract. That could happen shortly after the lockout ends.

But let’s get hypothetical and say the Saints somehow decide to release Bush. Would he fit in Carolina?

Yeah, I could see Bush serving as a change-of-pace back to Jonathan Stewart. But that’s only if Williams leaves. And let’s make it clear: I think that would be a downgrade. Bush has some good aspects, but he’s not the all-around back Williams is.

What about Tampa Bay?

I definitely could see a fit there. But before Tampa Bay fans get too carried away with this one, let’s go back to Richard’s point about Bush. His time in New Orleans has showed he’s never going to be the player many thought he would be when he came into the league as the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2006.

Bush has had some injury problems and it’s pretty well established he’s never going to be a guy who is going to give you 20 or 25 carries a game. He’s a role player. He can give you some carries, he can catch some passes out of the backfield and he makes a defense react to his presence. He also can help you as a return man.

Use him as a change-of-pace back and a third-down back behind LeGarrette Blount and the fit makes sense in Tampa Bay. If Bush comes available and the price tag isn’t too steep, he’d be an upgrade on Cadillac Williams, who can become a free agent. Bush also would be a much better alternative than Tiki Barber, who many are linking to the Bucs.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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