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Bush, Saints staredown looms

For weeks if not months, league observers have assumed that the New Orleans Saints won’t pay $8 million in base salary to a part-time tailback and above-average punt returner who sells a lot of jerseys.

Winning the Super Bowl possibly changes that.

As Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, the Saints probably can’t risk giving Bush the take-a-pay-cut-or-take-a-hike ultimatum.  If Bush, who is beloved in New Orleans, leaves the team, the current Bayou vibe would be severely damaged.

The problem is that Bush has greater value to the Saints than to any other team, but he’s worth $8 million in base salary to no one.  So Bush ultimately needs to ask himself whether he’s willing to take a minor haircut in order to continue flaunting the fleur-de-lis, or whether he’s willing to risk getting his head shaved if he hits the open market.

Here’s where tampering can be of great value to a player.  Bush needs to know what other teams will pay him before he decides whether to take the last, best offer the Saints make.  And while it’s not in the Saints’ interests to have other teams disrupt their relationship with Bush, in this instance it might be prudent to quietly give Bush and his agent, Joel Segal, permission to talk to other teams about the kind of deal they would do if Bush were to be available via trade.

With that strategy comes considerable risk; if word of a possible trade gets out, it might be impossible to bring Reggie back.  (See Cutler, Jay.) 

Then again, there’s no reason for the Saints to give Bush permission to do that which his agent will be doing anyway.  Indeed, does anyone think that Bush hasn’t been in contact with his former college coach, who now happens to coach the Seahawks? 

But Seattle might not be the best landing spot for Bush.  With offensive coordinator Mike Martz hell bent on cramming the square peg of his playbook into round hole of the Chicago roster, Bush if healthy could become a Marshall Faulk/Priest Holmes weapon for the Bears.

Regardless of how it all turns out, it’ll be interesting to see whether Saints owner Tom Benson opts to overpay Bush in the hopes of keeping the peace.  From a football standpoint, it doesn’t make sense; from a business standpoint, maybe it does.

Until, that is, other players who contribute more than Bush to the on-field effort begin to argue that if Bush is worth $8 million in base salary, they should be getting at least $10 million.
 

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46 Responses to “Bush, Saints staredown looms”
  1. duckworth says: Feb 11, 2010 11:23 AM

    “Bush ultimately needs to ask himself whether he’s willing to take a minor haircut”
    Well that made me laugh.

  2. gopher says: Feb 11, 2010 11:26 AM

    I really don’t see the Saints keeping Bush. The Saints are riding high and Brees is the king, not Bush and besides that Thomas is a better running back then Bush.

  3. Big Stretch says: Feb 11, 2010 11:26 AM

    Bush is a very good player, but not an everydown back and 8 million is a lot of cash for a guy who isn’t #1 on the depth chart. I guess it’s a good thing Pierre is restricted.

  4. nps6724 says: Feb 11, 2010 11:33 AM

    “Until, that is, other players who contribute more than Bush to the on-field effort begin to argue that if Bush is worth $8 million in base salary, they should be getting at least $10 million.”
    Every player who outperforms a top 10 draft pick could use this argument every year. But they don’t. This isn’t unique to Bush. Leinart and Vince Young have both gotten paid over a full season of top-end dough to ride the bench past their rookie seasons. Bush at least contributed in all 4 years. Hell, Bush has scored as many TDs as VY has thrown for and doubled the number of TDs Leinart has thrown for.
    IMO, he will take a slight paycut. But he has made a ton of money for the team in ticket and merchandise sales (not to mention ratings) over these past 4 years and I think Benson will see that.

  5. Materialman80 says: Feb 11, 2010 11:34 AM

    I say they pay Reggie. It’s true up to now maybe he has not lived up to his billing, but he seems to be coming on now and I think it’s best the Saints pay the money at this point to avoid rocking the boat. I’d say they made some extra income on winning the Superbowl…..

  6. FootballOnly says: Feb 11, 2010 11:38 AM

    reggie bush isn’t even as much of a threat as J. Cribbs or D. Hester. There is no other team in the league that would pay bush 8M and he has plenty of teammates on saints who are worth more than him and not getting it so the saints will find themselves inbetween a rock and a hard spot when it comes to bush…….they should be able to deduct all the illegal money he rec’d while at USC.

  7. DonTerrelli says: Feb 11, 2010 11:41 AM

    like Pierre Thomas, who made less all year than Bush made winning that first playoff game

  8. 4ever19 says: Feb 11, 2010 11:47 AM

    There’s all this talk about how aggressive the Saints have been in building this team. Now they need to be aggressive in making sure it isn’t damaged. My Colts want a rematch, after all. Bush did darned little during the regular season. Yes, he made some plays in the postseason but does anyone remember Timmy Smith? Cut him loose. I’m sure the Jenner-Kardashian clan has a pullout bed where he can stay.

  9. TheBigTuna2 says: Feb 11, 2010 11:48 AM

    Serves you right for choosing a punt returner 2nd overall. How dumb do the Texans look now with their pro bowl D end?

  10. WHO DAT! says: Feb 11, 2010 11:51 AM

    Sorry Reggie you are not worth the cash. Take a pay cut and take your place behind the Saints real running back Pierre Thomas or hit the road.

  11. SoCalSean says: Feb 11, 2010 11:52 AM

    “Bush if healthy could become a Marshall Faulk/Priest Holmes weapon for the Bears.”
    Nobody wants him, but he could be as good as one of these guys… Ha!

  12. Dennis says: Feb 11, 2010 11:52 AM

    Umm…they just won a Super Bowl. That gives them freedom to do whatever they want from a personnel standpoint and still look good. It wouldn’t hurt them to get rid of a marginally performing, very expensive player at a fungible position.

  13. ButchD says: Feb 11, 2010 11:53 AM

    Florio, stop putting Bush in the same sentence as Marshall Faulk or Priest Holmes, it taints your credibility

  14. moreflagsmorefun says: Feb 11, 2010 11:55 AM

    They should give him the money, so I can keep on LQQKIN at Kim’s BIG BUTT………………

  15. WHO DAT! says: Feb 11, 2010 11:57 AM

    Sorry Reggie you are not worth the cash. Take a pay cut and your place behind the Saints real tailback Pierre Thomas or hit the road.

  16. BlueStar says: Feb 11, 2010 12:03 PM

    Yep, he definately means something to the fans, but they need to think with their heads not their hearts on this one! Reggie, did a good to average job for the Saints over his years there. But let’s not forget this is a business, not a church gathering.
    He will probably work better in a different system. Frankly, he does not appear or act as though he is happy with his current role in my opinion. Worth 8 million? No.
    There are several concerning signs with Reggie as well. First was the scandal with his parents and home that was allegedly purchased for them by an agency courting him while he was still in college. I am not even sure if that was ever resolved. Second are the scholarships he allegedley reniged on that were recently reported. Third (very trivial) are those damn sunglasses he was wearing at night during the parade! What the heck was that about?? The Saints did an amazing job of keeping their organization humble and grounded before, during and after their win and I am not even a Saints fan! But you have to feel good for the team and that city regardless.
    RB just seems to project the image (in general) that it is all about him. That is a turn off and sends the wrong message in any circle! He needs to move on IMHO. They can do better.

  17. jknock625 says: Feb 11, 2010 12:04 PM

    I think the Saints made it abundantly clear over the course of the season that they can be successful without Reggie Bush. In a long stretch during the season, he only got 5-10 touches per game. His effect in the NFC championship was negative and his effect in the SB was on par with everyone else (i.e. nothing special).
    People in N.O. have come to realize that Brees makes the machine go, not Bush, and that the multitude of weapons on offense won’t be seriously compromised by the loss of a single element… especially one so inconsistent. Rod Harper proved in preseason that he can be our punt returner if he can stay healthy. Prior to the “Bat Game” against Arizona, Bush was still trying to outrun everybody.
    Personally, I love the guy, but one good game doesn’t make him an $8M player. This is a team sport, and the reason they won it all was because they were solid on all fronts… D-line, O-line, RB’s, WR’s, DB’s, etc. You can’t be like that if you’re dishing out mega contracts to anyone but your star starters. Cut the salary or cut the player – I’m ok either way – and I’m a die hard Who Dat.

  18. karmathaitch says: Feb 11, 2010 12:05 PM

    Hes worth 3.5 next year. Anywhere. Hes made enough already.

  19. albaNY Hawker says: Feb 11, 2010 12:06 PM

    this is the same scenario the Seahawks found themselves in with Shaun Alexander, after a MVP season and a SB appearance. They chose to resign him, and that didn’t turn out too well. The Saints might be better served to use their money more wisely.

  20. stadanko says: Feb 11, 2010 12:15 PM

    He’ll take a paycut but still get paid more than anywhere else and be a Saint for several more years. Complete non-story. It benefits both sides to have Reggie Bush on this team. Silver and Florio need their hits.

  21. CYGNUS X-1 says: Feb 11, 2010 12:22 PM

    will you stop trying to people like mike martz how to run the bears offense? the square peg problem was this year when turner would not adjust his playbook to cutler’s talen until the final 2 games. to run martz’s offense you need young fast recievers and guess what?the bears have that with knox,hester,aromashudo and that kid from ok. they drafted but did not play. as for running back yea forte had a bad year but played most of on a injured knee which was just fixed so why do they need to overpay bush to do what forte has proven he can do and that is catch passes out of the backfield.as for cutler he will have a much better year under martz,if kitna can throw for 4,000yds. then cutler should throw for at least that much if not more. you act like he is the only qb who has had a bad year before,he was 1 of the young qb’s in the league before the bears and turner got him.as for his demeanor the guy can’t win,show emotion and he is a whiny punk,not show any and he doesn’t care what do you want the guy to do?

  22. SF Saints Fan says: Feb 11, 2010 12:25 PM

    TheBigTuna2:
    “Serves you right for choosing a punt returner 2nd overall. How dumb do the Texans look now with their pro bowl D end?”
    Well, I guess the saints do look much dumber than the Texans, but they are also staring at a nice shiny Lombardi Trophy now aren’t they?
    Bush is a role player who has more worth to the Saints than any other team. With the way things work in the NFL, his agent will put out feelers, find out he is not worth anywhere near $8 million per year and will take an extension (maybe another 3 year for 5 years total) deal with the Saints that will result in Bush getting paid about $8 million in 2010, with more phony numbers added onto his contract.
    Bush made an additional $1.3 million just from the Saints due to the playoff run and Super Bowl win, plus his playoff money and Super Bowl money from the NFL.

  23. nps6724 says: Feb 11, 2010 12:30 PM

    “reggie bush isn’t even as much of a threat as J. Cribbs or D. Hester.”
    Cribbs – 14 TDs
    Hester – 19 TDs
    Bush – 32 TDs
    “Serves you right for choosing a punt returner 2nd overall. How dumb do the Texans look now with their pro bowl D end?”
    Which team has had 2 winning seasons, 2 trips to the conference championship, and won the Super Bowl? I’d say the Saints look perfectly fine to me.
    And that “punt returner” has scored 5 TDs in 5 playoff games.
    “RB just seems to project the image (in general) that it is all about him.”
    He’s never complained about his role or his teammates or anything regarding the team or city. It seems you’re projecting your own feelings onto him.

  24. theKING says: Feb 11, 2010 12:44 PM

    wonder what Reggie’s Bush thinks when he watches the Kimmy K n Ray J home video. It can’t be easy to know your concubine made a hardcore with a Z lister.
    KING~out

  25. Pervy Harvin says: Feb 11, 2010 12:45 PM

    Face it Saints fans. That overrated tool you call Bush is not worth half of that money. Thomas is better. Once he marries Kim Skankdashian his play will go down hill even further. Don’t you see what those hoes did to Bruce Jenner?? They are very demanding.

  26. Dolphinatic says: Feb 11, 2010 12:55 PM

    Bottom line is reggie was a project comming out of college. Like other 200pd speedsters before him, it takes 3 or 4 yrs to develop the strength to play in this league (IE marshall, tiki barber, preist holmes, warrik dunn etc etc). Bush avg 5.6 per carry this yr(yes in limited carries), I would give split carries with thomas next yr and watch this team sprint back to the SB.

  27. Steve-O says: Feb 11, 2010 1:02 PM

    No speculation about the Redskins?
    He would be overpriced but add a home run threat at RB and PR. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

  28. bspurloc says: Feb 11, 2010 1:06 PM

    The Saints don’t have a running back that can stay healthy all season long….
    If they lose Bush they are screwed…..
    Pierre and Bell are lil Shockeys just like bush is….
    It is pretty sad when your running backs miss more games than Shockey

  29. Pack83 says: Feb 11, 2010 1:06 PM

    Teddy Thompson…open up the checkbook!! The Brandon Jackson experiment has clearly failed, and Reggie would be the perfect compliment to Grant, but as a running and receiving back. Shoot, he may eat enough carries to prevent some of the huge escalators for Grant in ’10. Perhaps more importantly, he may actually give the Pack the consistent kick returner they’ve needed for about 15 years.
    Who am I kidding though?? Teddy will draft someone in the 4th round who he thinks is better than Bush for 1/10th the price…or will rely on good ole DeShawn Wynn again.

  30. ☻☼CBS, FOX, ESPN, NFLN nbc says: Feb 11, 2010 1:06 PM

    San Diego? Seattle?

  31. bspurloc says: Feb 11, 2010 1:12 PM

    No wait they should get rid of Reggie and bring back Deuce Mcallister to scab more TD’s from every ones……
    Deuce Deuce deutsh stole me TD again….

  32. SterilizeTHenry says: Feb 11, 2010 1:22 PM

    How about the Chargers paying up for him?? They will part ways with LT. Sproles isn’t a #1 back. And considering they pass the ball 75% of the time anyway, a good pass-catching RB like Bush would be a good fit.

  33. _ROCKSTAR_ says: Feb 11, 2010 1:27 PM

    Saints have a ring… Texas with their Defensive end has 0

  34. JimmyY says: Feb 11, 2010 1:38 PM

    3 years@20 mil, $6mil next with 2 in unattainable incentives, cut him after that.

  35. Stihler fan says: Feb 11, 2010 1:48 PM

    MaterialMan80:
    There’s supposedly a salary cap on all teams so unless the Saints are way under that cap and are under because they feel they can’t afford a payroll as high as that cap, how much the money Saints made this year is irrelevant

  36. Just Drew It! says: Feb 11, 2010 1:48 PM

    @nps6724:
    Don’t bother…the people that think reggie bush does nothing are clueless about football. And if there is anything I’ve learned on this site, is that describes half the readership.
    Is he overpaid, sure…as is a lot of people in the NFL. But I hope they keep him. His production has been great, and his YPC is up.

  37. ChicagoJo says: Feb 11, 2010 1:52 PM

    Bears don’t want him. They have Forte in the backfield and hester in the slot, why fork over millions of dollars for this guy? Pure uinfounded speculation on Florio’s part.
    Cygnus, the Oklahoma receiver we drafted is Jauquin Iglesias and you’re absolutely right about our receiving core. But the national media and its audience will always hate on the Bears until they’re proven wrong, then the “Bears always suck” comments turn into “Bears aren’t that good.” or “the Bears are who we thought they were”.
    “Serves you right for choosing a punt returner 2nd overall. How dumb do the Texans look now with their pro bowl D end?”
    nps6724 says:
    “Which team has had 2 winning seasons, 2 trips to the conference championship, and won the Super Bowl? I’d say the Saints look perfectly fine to me. ”
    Come on now, you don’t really tie the Saints success to drafting Bush over Williams do you? They’re the better club since for sure, but the Texans got the better player in that round.

  38. Just Drew It! says: Feb 11, 2010 2:00 PM

    I’ll say this, the Saints resigned Devery to 5 mil/year just last year. I’m not sure what they’ll do, but Reggie is easily more important to this team than Devery.

  39. Nard100 says: Feb 11, 2010 2:00 PM

    Florio – “With offensive coordinator Mike Martz hell bent on cramming the square peg of his playbook into round hole of the Chicago roster, Bush if healthy could become a Marshall Faulk/Priest Holmes weapon for the Bears.”
    Florio, I hope you’re kidding, because if your not, I’m on the phone with the Betty Ford clinic after this post to reserve a room for you.
    Really Florio?! Bush=Faulk/Holmes?
    Drug abuse is no laughing matter. Get help!

  40. nps6724 says: Feb 11, 2010 2:40 PM

    “Come on now, you don’t really tie the Saints success to drafting Bush over Williams do you? They’re the better club since for sure, but the Texans got the better player in that round.”
    A lot of it does. The 2006 Saints don’t make the playoffs without Bush. He was the only offense in that NFCC and without him, we wouldn’t have won 3 of those games. Last year, we wouldn’t have won 2 games without his contribution and we did lose 2 that he tried to win single-handedly (vs. Washington and Minnesota).
    He’s not consistent, but he’s been one of the primary reasons we’ve won many games where the defense stunk and the offense was off.
    This isn’t to say Mario Williams isn’t good, because he’s a very good DE. But the Saints needed a star and Bush was a star. He helped keep the Saints in NOLA through ticket sales and merchandise sales. He’s also helped the Saints get more national exposure.
    The Saints are a better team with Bush than they’d be with Williams. Let’s not forget Williams is on a DL with 2 1st-round DTs, a 2nd-round DE, and a 2nd-round all-star MLB. He’s not dominating on his own.

  41. packerfanfornot4life says: Feb 11, 2010 2:41 PM

    Hold firm Reggie!!!! Make them cut you and come to Green Bay!! You would be a great change of pace back and return man and the “G” on the helmet is a fashion statement running by at 100 MPH!!!

  42. Terry says: Feb 11, 2010 3:28 PM

    This is EXACTLY the time to give him a “take it or leave it deal”
    The Saint’s status in the community is at an all time high and risking loosing Bush will Not alter that love in any way!

  43. RayDaMayor says: Feb 11, 2010 3:35 PM

    “bspurloc says:
    The Saints don’t have a running back that can stay healthy all season long….
    If they lose Bush they are screwed…..
    Pierre and Bell are lil Shockeys just like bush is….
    It is pretty sad when your running backs miss more games than Shockey”
    Yo dumbass…..all of them have a shiney new Super Bowl ring on the way. Yep, that must be pretty sad indeed. What a tool…….

  44. JayBot says: Feb 11, 2010 3:42 PM

    packerfanfornot4life says:
    February 11, 2010 2:41 PM
    Hold firm Reggie!!!! Make them cut you and come to Green Bay!!
    __________________________________
    I doubt that Kim Kardashian, who appears to wear the pants, would want to spend winters in Green Bay, so unless it’s a trade where he has no choice, don’t expect to see him in Green Bay unless he’s playing for the visiting team.

  45. straightup says: Feb 11, 2010 8:21 PM

    Well i keep hearing the idea that Reggie isn’t an everydown back, why not? You think he’s too small? Reggie Bush, 6′ to 6’1 depending on what site you look at, weight around 205-210. Take a look at Marshal,Sayers,Emmit or pretty much any good back. Size is not the problem. When Reggie steps on the field the Defense has to adjust because he’s a type of player you better account for. Reggie has ran between the tackles since week 6, effectively. Sean P likes him and there are allot of plays revolving around him. I believe he stays and restructures. Now on the other hand don’t think they won’t cut his ass, some may remember we spend a 4th rd. pick on a running back and ditched him for Pierre.

  46. BikerSaint says: Feb 20, 2010 9:46 AM

    Reggie has been worth what he was paid the last four years, because he brought hope to a city ravaged by katrina. His value is a combination of his on field performance and his star value. But, alas, he has outlived his value now that we won the SB. If I were him, i would take a cut and stay on a SB contender. I think at heart he is a good kid. His first year, he donated his NIKE signing bonus to the city.

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