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Bears sign Michael Bush


Michael Bush is heading to Chicago.

Bush, a free agent running back who has played his entire career with the Raiders, has agreed to terms on a deal with the Bears. A league source tells PFT’s Mike Florio that the deal is a four-year, $14 million contract with $7 million guaranteed. At an average of $3.5 million a year, that’s the best deal a free-agent running back has received this year.

That also shows that the market just isn’t very good for running backs these days. Bush did well for himself relative to the overall running back market, but the deal isn’t much better than a couple of kickers, Olindo Mare and Ryan Longwell, signed last year: Both got $12 million over four years.

So the Bears get Bush without breaking the bank, and that’s a bad sign for Matt Forte on multiple fronts: Bush’s presence means Chicago won’t be desperate to get Forte in the fold, and the overall running back market means Forte can’t expect much out of a long-term deal. That’s life for running backs in the NFL these days.

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85 Responses to “Bears sign Michael Bush”
  1. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 22, 2012 11:58 AM

    Good pick up. Now let’s pay Forte and shore up that defense.

  2. reverend5150 says: Mar 22, 2012 11:59 AM

    The days of overpaying an every down back are just about over, none of them can make it through an entire season without getting hurt

  3. rickditka says: Mar 22, 2012 11:59 AM


  4. thraiderskin says: Mar 22, 2012 11:59 AM

    doh! good pick up Bears.

  5. alstottwastheman says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    If they lock up Forte, the Bears have one of, if not the best, running back combo in the league.

  6. countsnail says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    Forte should just hold out of camp or demand a trade. He WAS their offense for the past two seasons. Now that they have a legitimate passing attack with Brandon Marshall, they’re tying to throw him under the bus.

    Hold out and hope for a trade to another team. New England could use a new RB now that The Lawfirm is gone. He’d make that offense even scarier.

  7. romeisburningtfb says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    The age of running back pay days has ended. Too many talented, younger, cheaper options to be had at any time in today’s NFL.

  8. billsfan27 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    The Bears are gonna be a lot of fun to watch next year.

  9. bears46 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    Nice, I like it a lot. Makes a ton of sense.

  10. teamobijuan says: Mar 22, 2012 12:00 PM

    Good pick up since Forte is only good in contract years.

  11. cash804 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:01 PM

    Pay Forte!

  12. Tiny Steps Mommy says: Mar 22, 2012 12:01 PM

    Bush isnt very dynamic. I think he averaged just over 3 ypc. Raiders can replace that with a player at a quarter of that cost.

  13. firstandonlywarning says: Mar 22, 2012 12:01 PM

    Bears would be fools to pay Forte what he wants. Guy quit on the team last year
    RB’s are a dime a dozen

  14. sackofnuts says: Mar 22, 2012 12:01 PM

    Bears getting some Bush….nice.

    Good back, good guy, under rated

  15. Chairman Al says: Mar 22, 2012 12:01 PM

    Darn. Great pickup for the Bears. At least he didn’t stay in the AFC. Thanks for the hard work in Oakland.

  16. oliverioxerxes says: Mar 22, 2012 12:02 PM

    Forte is more than your typical NFL running back. That team would struggle without his versatility. Bush is good, but no where near an adequate replacement. Pay the man!

  17. caryw30 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:02 PM

    What killed the market for Forte was AP got hurt and Chris Johnson was a bust after he got paid.

  18. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 22, 2012 12:02 PM

    Running backs and (hard-hitting) safeties are becoming obsolete in this new passing league.

  19. vanredstar says: Mar 22, 2012 12:03 PM

    I would say almost no RBs deserve long deals, because of the fungible nature of the position nowadays.

    But Forte is special. Like Adrian Peterson special. He accounts for a lot of the offense (maybe less now than under Martz, but Tice is a run-first guy) and has great receiving skills.

    Don’t break the bank, but wrap him up for a few years at least. Cutler needs that steam valve dump-off.

    Bears will be scary next yr tho. Watch out NFC North.

  20. nfl1818 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:03 PM

    who doesn’t love bush

  21. nineroutsider says: Mar 22, 2012 12:03 PM

    The Bears are quitely putting together a team that can make a run at the Pack and fend off those Lions.

    Let’s not forget that this team was a solid playoff team before losing Cutler. Need better O-line play though…

  22. mialto says: Mar 22, 2012 12:04 PM

    Great move! Emery strikes again!

  23. hashsview says: Mar 22, 2012 12:04 PM

    I think the bears just made a good decision. Then again I hope Mr. Bush knows how to help a QB up off the ground, cause that O-line reminds me of the broadway show Cats.

  24. cincyorangenblack says: Mar 22, 2012 12:05 PM

    solid pick up. wanted him on the Bengals

  25. radrntn says: Mar 22, 2012 12:05 PM

    that sucks…but happy for him. wish him the best, but find it odd that he wants to back up forte, more than he wants to back up dmc

  26. jeremywflores says: Mar 22, 2012 12:06 PM

    Cutler is a happy man

  27. 4tigerbait says: Mar 22, 2012 12:06 PM

    Pretty good one…two punch.

  28. rbirving says: Mar 22, 2012 12:07 PM

    and you’re smoking dog poop if you think Forte couldn’t get a much bigger contract elsewhere.

  29. spellingcopfather says: Mar 22, 2012 12:08 PM

    Damn & what (we) could not afford to resign him for that low price!!!

  30. raiderredleg says: Mar 22, 2012 12:09 PM

    Good for Bush…Hated to see him go, but the Raiders are DMAC’s team and Bush wore down quite a bit after DMAC was gone for the season and was pretty spotty blocking on 3rd down.

    Besides with the Raider’s cap situation, 4 years with 7 million guaranteed is WAY too much for RB that will be 32 by the time the contract is up.

    Bush can be replaced for the most part by a mixture of M. Reece/T. Jones and a mid to late round draft pick (or a low cost FA RB).

  31. earlyjk54 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:10 PM

    Nice!!! Now get a 2nd threat WR

  32. LilTmac2003 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:11 PM

    Yeah, this is a pretty good pick-up.

    He’s a good, solid, running back that will play well with Forte. I hope Bears still do sign Forte also.

    I’m still amazed at what GM Emery has done so far. He hasn’t only signed Bush…

    – Parted ways with Tim Ruskell (Angelo originally brought him in, just ask Seattle how terrible this guy is)
    – Parted ways with the ex-mad scientist Martz
    – Got Brandon Marshall in a trade that seems to good to be true
    – Added Jeremy Bates to coaching staff (Cutler’s guy in Denver)
    – Signed Jason Cambell and now Michael Bush
    – Added a lot more depth

    People are complaining that this guy has just added depth and not star players. Bears made it to the NFC Championship two seasons ago and were 7-3 last season before Cutler went down…Bears have a solid squad, they just had no depth…and now Emery has fixed that.

    I’m also not going to really judge him on this years draft, mainly because he said he hasn’t installed his system of selecting players (specific scouts, areas, coaches, etc) in this years draft, but will do so in next year.

    He’s added a WR to the Bears. Something Jerry Angelo hasn’t done in 11 years.

  33. mnmattvike says: Mar 22, 2012 12:12 PM

    As a Vikings fan, that scares me. That is a great addition to the Bears. Bears might have the inside track to the NFC if the defense gets a little depth.

  34. thejabronisayz says: Mar 22, 2012 12:14 PM

    I don’t think his contract reflects a ‘lack of a market’ for running backs. He was signed as a backup/complement to Matt Forte, so he’s not going to get much more money.

    Plus, while kickers may not be very flashy and may not receive nearly as much notoriety as running backs do, the good ones really make a difference in the outcomes of games. How many game-extending/winning 50+ yard field goals did Matt Prater make this past season?

  35. chipwrecked says: Mar 22, 2012 12:15 PM

    That is a good deal. Strange to me that the Raiders didn’t even seem to make an attempt at re-signing him. McFadden hasn’t shown he can complete a season. Bush will be doing the same thing in Chicago backing up Forte as he would be in Oakland.

  36. gridassassin says: Mar 22, 2012 12:15 PM

    Perfect complement to Forte. …and a bit of pressure for him to sign, or just hold out until Week 10.

    Great signing for a run oriented offense.

  37. assassins14 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:15 PM

    Buuuy crackie! Good signing for the Bear. Forte must be kicking himself in arse for not signing with the state of RB market being what it is.

  38. aberystwyth2 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:16 PM

    nice pickup, solid backup…i’m sure he will remember to not run out of bounds whilst trying to run out the clock

  39. sagatti says: Mar 22, 2012 12:17 PM

    As a Bronco fan…. Glad to see him GO!! Anything that keeps Oakland in the toilet is Music to my ears..

  40. barneyrumble says: Mar 22, 2012 12:21 PM

    OH YEAH! Da Bears! Good move after good move coming from Chicago, not used to that of late, but do keep it coming please. Viking fans have to be distraught, Packers and Lions and Bears, Oh My.

  41. efriedo says: Mar 22, 2012 12:21 PM

    So he left the Raiders to pursue a starting gig, then signed with the Bears where he will be a complimentary back to Matt Forte…Should just stayed in Oakland where DMC will probably get hurt and you will be the starter…

  42. Matt says: Mar 22, 2012 12:22 PM

    Bush was a godsend for the dimwit dull Raiders offense under Kiffin/Knapp/Cable. Michael Bush is the easiest three yards in football. He’s a great straight-line runner with phenomenal strength. We never won much those years, but we always seemed to win thanks to a couple third down runs at the end of the game with Michael Bush.

    These last two seasons with Hue, he’s gradually been phased out, even with DMC’s injury. Palmer’s passing attack with D Moore and DHB was always more of a Hue thing than Bush’s runs. Bush is one of the strongest running backs in the league, but he doesn’t have McFadden’s breakout agility.

    Bush is like Ichiro, getting positive yards every single run consistently, but he’s not a home run hitter. McFadden is. Forte is.

    Good pickup by the Bears. He was a great Raider and the One Nation will miss him no matter what happens to McFadden.

  43. hodous says: Mar 22, 2012 12:23 PM

    I am surprised by this but I am not at the same time.. the league is changing and its a sign of things to come. Running backs are so valuable to a team but when you use them too much they burn out, and no one here can deny the Bears used the hell out of Forte. (43% of offense before injury). Bush will either extend Forte’s career if he remains with the team.

    At the same time as a Bears fan would you be really upset if they traded Forte in some Package to go up and get Matt Kalil?

  44. muskyhunter2542 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:27 PM

    Stull 3rd place team

  45. howiehandles says: Mar 22, 2012 12:35 PM

    Forte would have a deal by now if he wasn’t so greedy. Poor baby might have to suffer making franchise money for a year. My heart is breaking for him.

  46. slickster35 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:36 PM

    So the faid let the good back go and keep the bust.

    Typical dumb move. It’s like dead al is still almost alive.

  47. squared80 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:37 PM

    Vikes fan here. Maybe a little expensive, but either way a good signing by the Bears. Forte’s gotta rest those loegs at some point, and Bush is no slouch.

  48. howiehandles says: Mar 22, 2012 12:37 PM

    ” At the same time as a Bears fan would you be really upset
    if they traded Forte in some Package to go up and get Matt

    Yes. 1 because Forte is proven, and picks are a gamble. and 2 because I’d be very hesitant to trade him in the division.

  49. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 22, 2012 12:41 PM

    At the same time as a Bears fan would you be really upset if they traded Forte in some Package to go up and get Matt Kalil?

    Yea, I personally would. I wouldn’t trade him…at all.

  50. nflfollower says: Mar 22, 2012 12:42 PM

    That’s a good pickup I wanted the lions to get him but they apparently had no interest. He will fit better in chicagos scheme probably, everything in Detroit is out of the gun, for better or worse.

  51. vegaskid21 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:43 PM

    Da Bears got a deal. Bush played really well last year after Darren M got hurt

  52. gorilladik81 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:43 PM

    Some good moves by the Bears adding quality depth, maybe get a little better and younger on D and they have a legit shot to win the North.

  53. boilerup1869 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:43 PM

    Good job, Emery. The Bears appear to have improved at all of the offensive skill positions:

    -Jason Campbell (better than previous backup QBs)
    -Brandon Marshall (better than previous “#1” WRs)
    -Michael Bush (better than previous backup RBs)

    Now, it would be nice to see them make some moves on the offensive line, given that we still have an inconsistent bunch.

    I think most Bears fans would also like to see some additions in the secondary, particularly at CB. Every team in the NFC North has dangerous wideouts and tight ends, and the 2011 bunch was just average, despite what Tillman’s first Pro Bowl appearance may suggest.

  54. huejackson says: Mar 22, 2012 12:44 PM

    Good Bye SELLOUT….
    Bush you will never be remembered being a Raider. You are now just another loser..
    We are done with you anyways, Your knees are like a 80 year olds now… Hope your career ends very soon
    From Raider Nation

  55. renorocker says: Mar 22, 2012 12:45 PM

    I think every fan should be happy to get a little Bush. Make that every man should be happy.

  56. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 22, 2012 12:49 PM

    Raiders did not re-sign him bc of cap space issues. The team is getting their financial house in order and until that time they aren’t going to spend this much money on a back-up to DMC. Happy for Bush he is a player’s player.

  57. AlohaMrHand says: Mar 22, 2012 12:51 PM

    Oakland should give Brandon Jacobs a look

  58. hooahitsnotatomthing says: Mar 22, 2012 12:53 PM

    hmmmm…..this is really very interesting. I think this may be insurance if forte sits out the season. I really do think the bears will be alright with Bush and Khalil Bell.

    Khalil Bell has been a completely under used person on the bears.

    Just one mans opinion and I can always be wrong

  59. marc127 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:57 PM

    I think Bush’s signing is worse for Marion Barber than Forte. Forte will get his contract, right now Emery is trying to re-tool the offense to give the Bears the best chance to contend. Adding Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems, Jason Campbell as Cutler’s back-up, and now Bush as Forte’s back-up he is helping give the offense some depth. Now just add some O-line and the Bears will be serious contenders. I for one can’t wait for the season to start because the NFC North is going to be a dog fight for 1st and for one of the wild cards. I say on paper that it is officially the toughest division in the NFL.

  60. Joethemightyone says: Mar 22, 2012 1:00 PM

    Bears could be dangerous this season!

  61. philvil41 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:22 PM

    Hate to see him leave the Raiders.He’s a very good football player-runner ,receiver, blocker can do it all.

  62. dsharpe8 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:26 PM

    Good for Michael Bush, but if I’m Matt Forte I’m holding out. Clearly this is another sign of disrespect by the Bears front office. Forte is easily a top 5 overall back in the league and was the Bears offense. Somebody in the Bears front office has to be high off drugs not to give Forte a long term deal… I love my Bears, but I’m not feeling the decision making by the front office…

  63. tebowsmom says: Mar 22, 2012 1:26 PM

    While I’m impressed that the notorious cheapskate Bears are making some decent pickups, they should have done right by Forte last year.

  64. aigraiders says: Mar 22, 2012 1:26 PM

    congrats to signing Twinkle Toes. Bush is great so long as you dont expect him to play the entire series, block or lower his shoulder. Us Raider fans were getting tired of him tapping his helmet to be taken out or dancing around in short yardage situations. He refused to blocking role when we needed him there.

  65. sullijo1 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:27 PM

    Glad he is out of the AFC West.

  66. ccad05 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    @firstandonlywarning: when exacty did forte quit?

  67. racerx1225 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    As someone who went to Tulane and who is a Raider fan, Iknow them both and if Bush doesnt have the startign job after camp, he will shortly thereafter. he is a better back than Forte.

  68. Broncofanatic7 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:39 PM

    If they aren’t going to pay Matt Forte what he is due, then there are probably about 28 other teams out there that will. I have nothing but respect for Forte. He didn’t hold out, he went out there and played, knowing that injury was highly possible.

  69. joetoronto says: Mar 22, 2012 1:43 PM

    Michael Bush has been a consummate pro, a truly classy individual who never complained about his role.

    He’s a nice pickup for the Bears and I wish him nothing but the best.

    Thanks for the memories, Michael.

  70. moneymike23 says: Mar 22, 2012 1:58 PM

    I’m surprised the Jets didn’t go after him harder.

  71. okldrdrs2111 says: Mar 22, 2012 2:08 PM

    For as big as he is youd think hes good at picking up blitzes, one thing i wont miss is his pass blocking. He is a solid runner if he would stop trying to juke and stay north south

  72. mullman7675 says: Mar 22, 2012 2:20 PM

    Bush is another Al Davis draft gem. 4th rounder out of louisville with a broken leg, who turned out to be a steal. He was a good player with the Raiders, I wish they could have worked something out. Taiwan Jones needs to step in and fill the role as a complement to McFadden (or the starter when McFadden gets hurt in week 4). Chicago will love Bush. Wait, that didn’t sound right…

  73. west4420 says: Mar 22, 2012 2:27 PM

    Bush coming to Chicago is a good move. Score another one for Cutler the GM.

    Forte needs to get off Twitter and focus on a reasonable deal with the Bears. The CJ and Deangelo contracts were outrageous. You can’t use those as the basis for negotiations.

    Forte and his agent are getting greedy and it’s going to cost them. Go in with an offer of 15Mil guaranteed and sign the paper. jesus.

  74. Canned Heat says: Mar 22, 2012 2:28 PM

    barneyrumble says:Mar 22, 2012 12:21 PM

    OH YEAH! Da Bears! Good move after good move coming from Chicago, not used to that of late, but do keep it coming please. Viking fans have to be distraught, Packers and Lions and Bears, Oh My.

    Easy tiger.

    Lets not forget that last year’s Eagles team was going to run away with the NFC and win the whole shooting match before the season even started, only to be standing there holding nothing but jock straps at the end.

    As a Pack fan, this looks to be some monumental moves for the Bears going back over the last 10 to 15 years…maybe more, and good for them and their fans. Take a lesson from Green Bay…you can have all of the offense in the world, but if you don’t get that Bears defense patched up, you won’t get where you want to go.

    And…..keep your fingers crossed that Cutler doesn’t go into the tank and start throwing to the other team like Mike Vick did when it mattered. Don’t tell me he can’t or doesn’t do that….we’ve all seen it already. Good start to ’12 for Da Bears, though…dang.

  75. larryboodry says: Mar 22, 2012 2:29 PM

    Great pickup for the Bears, they now have starter-quality guys backing up Cutler and Forte, which they could have used last year.

  76. rathwell says: Mar 22, 2012 2:33 PM

    I think all bear fans will appreciate Bush in the fourth quarter when grinding out the clock. That was supposed to be Barber’s job but it didn’t work out and I doubt he’ll be back.
    It will also help keep Forte fresh for the whole season and hopefully into the playoffs.

  77. r8rnuck says: Mar 22, 2012 3:06 PM

    i’m happy for him..he’s a bruiser and surprisingly agile for a big fella. loved having him on the raiders but knew that last season was going to be his springboard to some bigger cash…

  78. zo121179 says: Mar 22, 2012 3:12 PM

    Good! We might be able to score on the goal line now with out throwing it.

  79. botchedextrapoint says: Mar 22, 2012 4:15 PM

    The thing that got me about this story is the fact that a potential average starting RB signs a contract just over that of an old average kicker. Kind of hope the pass wacky teams fall over this year and the RB position gets some love again. I miss watching great run teams ram the ball down the throat of a top D all day long. That’s football.

  80. steelymcbeam6 says: Mar 22, 2012 4:24 PM

    Forte would be worth every penny on a long term deal. He is 60% of their offense! Open up your wallets bears and pay the man.

  81. poprox13 says: Mar 22, 2012 6:31 PM

    Damn! I’ve never paid that much for bush!

  82. lilmiddle78 says: Mar 22, 2012 9:19 PM

    Teamobijuan & firstandonlywarning!!!

    Forte has ALWAYS performed like an elite running back! And as much as I don’t agree with paying players for what they did in the past, the Bears have had a top back for 4 years now and have been paying him a fraction of what he’s wirth!! The bears have been stringing him along for a long time now!! Bush is a great addition to the offense but he simply can’t do what Forte does for that unit!!
    PAY THE MAN !! And Tattoo that GSH on his shoulder for life!!

  83. larryboodry says: Mar 22, 2012 11:59 PM

    @west4420…You said “Forte needs to get off Twitter and focus on a reasonable deal with the Bears.”

    Amen to that! I have always loved Matt Forte, and he does deserve to be paid better with a long-term deal…The Bears have been getting his services cheap.

    However, I have never liked his penchant for whining to the press whenever he feels ‘disrespected.’ Dude, you are the starting RB for the Chicago Bears, about to make 7 mil this upcoming season, and you’re complaining? The rest of us (you know, the fans) are often lucky to make ends meet from month to month, and I myself would love to be disrespected the way you claim to be. Just sayin’.

  84. sweeetlew says: Mar 23, 2012 5:36 PM

    Matt forte needs to learn how to stop whining and finish his runs – ala Walter Payton. Until he learns that, he will continue to get injured, pick up fewer yards, not get the respect he deserves. That’s why the Bears didn’t sign him to a long term deal.

  85. silvernblak says: Mar 25, 2012 9:05 PM

    If any team out there had a brain in their head they would stop doctoring on the best passing and receiving core known to man! The only reason when a star running back goes down with injury and the team ends up with .500 season is they didn’t spend the kind of money they should have for depth in the RB position. Sure it’s been a passing game in the NFL now for several years but look at some of these QB with half ass arms making it to The super bowl. Beef up your damn defense go a little deeper with cash in the running game and Hey! Forte! Come to Raider Camp where you will stop getting dumped on and loved by the black hole and let’s go get a F’n wring for ya!!!! Just win BABY!!!

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