Detroit Lions expected to pursue Reggie Bush in free agency

Reggie Bush believed to be a 'primary target' of the Lions

2/26/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Dec 23, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) on the bench in a game against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Sun Life Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Miami won 24-10. Robert Mayer-USA TODAY SportsReggie Bush may not be the clear-cut top running back on the market this offseason, but for the Lions, there is no free agent runner they'd rather have. Bush has made a career out of making plays in open space, and while his between-the-tackles running has always been suspect, the Lions are in search of a player who specializes what Bush does best.

Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell were solid downhill runners in 2012, averaging a combined 4.1 yards per carry, but the Lions - who love giving quarterback Matt Stafford as many weapons as possible - want a back who is lethal in open space.

The interest in Bush comes on the heels of Jahvid Best's concussion that has held him out since the middle of the 2011 season. Best was once that electrifying playmaker for the Lions, but his recurring concussion symptoms have him unsure if he'll ever play football again. Head coach Jim Schwartz has stated that the Lions will go through the offseason under the assumption that Best is not on the team.

According to the Detroit Free Press, "plenty of NFL people at the combine believe the Lions will make Bush a primary target in free agency." Reports suggest that Bush is unlikely to re-sign with the Dolphins, so the Lions should have every chance to pursue him. Bush is expected to command about $5 million annually, and while the Lions are tight against the salary cap, they should be able to find room to fit Bush if he is truly their "primary target."

What should be noted, however, is that the Lions have a lot to address on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. With the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch and expected departure of Cliff Avril, the Lions' defense line - recently thought to be one of the most promising units in the game - is weak on the outside. In addition, top cornerback Chris Houston and top safety Louis Delmas are both unrestricted free agents.

The Lions' defense was weaker than their offense in 2012, and with several key players slated for free agency, signing Bush may not be the wisest decision. The Lions could pursue a cheaper scat back, such as Bernard Scott, and use the difference in money to sign help on the defensive side of the ball. I will say, however, that I expect the Lions' first-round pick in the draft to be a defender, so they could address one of their defensive needs there.

If Reggie Bush does sign with the Lions, you can expect him to put up more similar numbers to his days with the Saints, when he was used primarily as a receiver out of the backfield. I wouldn't expect him to top 200 carries, as he has in each of the past two seasons with the Dolphins.
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