Amidst all the running back drama through the 2016 offseason, the Buffalo Bills haven't had to make a big roster move to address the position. That lack of action could be coming to an end if they reportedly have it their way.
For the second time over the past four days, the Buffalo Bills have been linked to former USC star, and Saints, Dolphins, Lions, and 49ers running back Reggie Bush. Originally linked by Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, on Monday morning, Ian Rapoport said that Bush was the running back that the Bills have targeted to bring in.
Bush, 31, suffered a torn ACL in November of last season and has not signed with any team at this point in the offseason. Rapoport added that Bush is weighing options, and is in "no rush" to make a decision.
The reported interest in Bush likely stems from another offseason misstep for second-year runner Karlos Williams. The former fifth-round pick, who had nine touchdowns in 11 regular season games last year, was suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Williams has been banned for four games, and that was after showing up to offseason workouts both overweight (by NFL standards) and out-of-shape. The runner spent the majority of minicamp working along the sidelines with a strength & conditioning coach to try and shed some of his offseason weight.
That creates an immediate void for a second-string running back, even though current Bills player Mike Gillislee stepped into the number-two role for a few weeks during the 2015 season. Rookie running back Jonathan Williams still might be considered for a roster spot, but his offseason DWI charge from last week still looms large just under two weeks from the start of training camp.
Bush appeared in five games last season, and rushed the ball only eight times for 28 yards before suffering the season-ending injury. In 10 seasons, Bush rushed for 1,000 yards twice -- once with Miami in 2011, and then again with Detroit in 2013.
Bills training camp begins at St. John Fisher College with the first practice on Saturday, July 30.
Joe B's Thoughts
While the Reggie Bush interest is big from a name perspective, you have to look at what it actually is. At this point, Bush is a 31-year-old running back now in the twilight of his career, and to make matters even more daunting, he's coming off a torn ACL.
By no means should this be viewed as a long-term fix to the position, or even a slam dunk for the 10-year veteran to be the immediate backup when Karlos Williams is away for four games. He has rushed for only 325 yards over the last two years combined, and was passed on the depth chart with two different teams.
Williams hasn't done himself any favors this offseason with his coaches and the front office, and you'd have to believe that the Bills at least for a few moments pondered what life would be without him. However, as long as he gets to training camp in shape, he's talented enough to sift through the headache of not having him there for a four-game span to open up the season. Don't discount the first part of that sentence, though.
Even if they were to sign Bush, I don't think it's a lock-solid guarantee that the veteran immediately usurps the backup job over those four games from Mike Gillislee. Bush certainly brings more to the table as a pass-catching back, but Gillislee showed quite well running between the tackles in a few games of backup duty during the 2015 season.
At the very least it would create some competition, which is never a bad thing, but due to NFL wear-and-tear Bush's best years are likely behind him.
|Live video, the latest news and no surveys - download the WKBW app|
|News, forecast and Bills newsletters delivered to your e-mail inbox|