Does running back Reggie Bush have enough gas left in his tank to help the New York Giants make a push to the playoffs in 2015, a place they haven't been since winning the 2011 Super Bowl?
Bush, released by the Detroit Lions earlier this week, turns 30 in just a few days. In running back years, 30, of course, is considered ancient. Bush is coming off the least productive season of his career -- discounting 2010, when he played in only eight games. Bush totaled only 550 yards from scrimmage, roughly one-third of the 1,512 yards he totaled for Detroit in 2013. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, the first time since 2008 he had dipped below 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. He averaged only 6.3 yards per reception, his worst full-season total. Ankle and back injuries limited Bush to just 11 games in 2014.
In discussing Bush's release, Sean Yuille of SB Nation's Pride of Detroit wrote "Bush's play no longer matched his contract, which was set to pay him $3.25 million this year and $3.75 million next year."
After nine seasons in the league, Bush may not be the dynamic player he once was. He is, however, only one year removed from back-to-back-to-back seasons of 1,382, 1,278 and 1,512 yards from scrimmage for the New Orleans Saints and the Lions. Should the Giants be interested, perhaps on a one-year deal with a low base salary and some incentives that could increase the value of a deal?
There is no doubt the Giants could have benefitted a season ago from having a speedy, pass-catching back who could have been used on third downs and other long-yardage situations. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams are fine backs, but neither is a home run threat or a real weapon as a pass receiver. David Wilson may have fit nicely into that role.
Enter a player like Bush. He has 5,465 career rushing yards. He also has 466 career receptions, never less than 34 in a season. Jennings' career best as a receiver is 36.
If you believe Pro Football Focus, Bush's lack of production in 2014 was more about the Lions having better backs in Joique Bell and Theo Riddick than about Bush being finished:
When Bush was on the field with the Lions, his production was anywhere from average to above average. This past year he graded out positively both running with the ball as well as receiving. Even though he is one of the oldest remaining running backs in the league, it wouldn't at all be surprising to see him latch on elsewhere - not every team has a back who is as good receiving out of the backfield as Bush.
Bush was Detroit's fifth-highest graded offensive player at +4.8, including +2.8 in pass receiving and +2.3 running the ball.
The Giants, of course have Jennings and Williams as their primary backs. They also are likely to have second-year back Orleans Darkwa, whose pass-catching skills they are intrigued by.
The 2015 NFL Draft is also flush with running backs. That could actually work in favor of a team that might be interested in Bush for a year, driving his price down simply because of the number of potential options available.
Would you be interested in seeing the Giants bring Bush in for a year? Your thoughts, Giants fans?