The Chicago Bears added another offensive weapon in free agency by signing former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush to a 4-year deal worth $14 million with $7 million in guaranteed money. It’s a steep price to pay for a backup, but Bush is far from the average back. Bush had his best season as a pro last season with career highs in attempts (256), yards (977), touchdowns (7), receptions (37), receiving yards (418) and starts (9 while running alongside and filling in for Darren McFadden.
It’s the third time in three offseasons that the Bears have invested heavily in a backup running back. They still have about $1 million in bad Chester Taylor money on the books for this season not to mention still having Marion Barber in the fold. The Bears should have left Barber in Denver last season, but expect them to follow through with cutting the free agent bust sooner rather than later. More on how this affects the Bears and Matt Forte after the jump.
The biggest question surrounding the Bush signing is how if affects the Bears’ franchise player, Matt Forte. First and foremost, the Bush signing provides valuable insurance in the unlikely event that Matt Forte decides to hold out. I doubt it would happen given the kind of kid that Forte is and the impact on his wallet with the type of fines that could be levied.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Forte was less than happy about another backup running back coming in and getting a multi-year deal. It’s tough to blame him, but it’s also important to realize that it’s not a matter of the Bears not wanting to give him a long-term deal (which they’ve tried), it’s a matter of coming up with a salary that will make him happy. Clearly $14 million wasn’t enough to do that last season.
Expect Bush to play the thunder to Forte’s lightening. It’s been well documented that Forte has been less than stellar in short yardage and around the goal line. Bush will fill that role well. Despite a brutal leg injury back in Louisville, Bush has been a tough and durable runner.
What do you think? Did the Bears overpay for another backup? Is this a good move or would you rather have seen them spend on a defensive end or offensive lineman? Do you think Forte has the right to be pissed? Do you think he’ll hold out? Let’s hear your thoughts in the Comments.