What would a Deon Bush contract look like with the Chicago Bears?
Deon Bush is a free agent for the Chicago Bears. The team has a decision to keep the draft pick that they invested in for the prime of his career, or take what they got through four years and move on.
Of course, the biggest question is going to be cost. How much would you pay Deon Bush, and how much could he get on an open market?
Bush is a tough one to find direct comparisons to, as most of his work is on special teams. He is coming off of his rookie contract, and three safeties who saw contracts in the NFL after year four that could be compared to Bush are Clayton Geathers, Jordan Richards, and Ibraheim Campbell.
Geathers signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Colts last offseason. After testing the market, he returned to the team that drafted him for one year. It is tough to completely compare the two because Geathers has over 900 more snaps played in his first four years.
However, similarly to Nick Kwiatkoski, a team may be betting that Bush was smothered by depth, and never got a chance to start. Geathers still only played 528 snaps in his fifth season with the Colts as a depth safety. He was a special teams asset, though. So while this may be high for Bush, it may not be unreasonable.
Richards was drafted by the New England Patriots and was a special teams ace through three years. The Patriots traded him before his fourth season. As only the Patriots do, they signed him last offseason for $800,500 after getting a draft asset back and losing him for one year.
However, the Patriots let him go and wound up re-signing with the Ravens. The Ravens extend him this offseason for the 2020 season at $845,000.
Bush has played more special teams than Richards, but even Richards has seen more defensive snaps than Bush. While a team may be betting on him, this may be a closer projection for what he will see on an open market.
Ibraheim Campbell was drafted by the Browns and spent three years there before being traded. After his fourth NFL season, he signed a $720,000 deal with the Green Bay Packers, and play sparingly on defense. Campbell has also seen the field more than Bush, though he and Richards have both bounced around a bit more than Deon Bush has.
Bush has performed better on special teams than both as well.
Still, the realization for Deon Bush is going to be that a $1 million contract at this point would be generous. It is fair to say the familiarity and special teams value are notable, but knowing that you can find a player like Richards for the same or a lower price has to suppress his value. Beyond that, the Bears have Stephen Denmark, Duke Shelley, and a decision on DeAndre Houston-Carson.
Deon Bush saw a 4-year, $2.86 million deal as his rookie salary. That is an average salary of $716,000.
He has outperformed his contract by most standards, and a raise to $845,000 would put in the same tier as Richards. Even at $850-875K, per year that is not bad value for Bush.
Look for that to be the offer from the Bears, and anything more may see him walking.