OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23: Running back Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders runs for a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
It is well documented that the Bengals need a new number one running back, either in the draft or in free agency. This is of course based on the assumption that Cedric Benson will not be returning and that Bernard Scott will not be asked to carry the full load. One potential target that has been on many Bengals fans minds for quite awhile is Raider running back Michael Bush. Bush is an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with a team starting on March 13, when free agency begins.
There has been some talk that the Raiders may use their franchise tag on Bush, especially with Darren McFadden's injury history. The Raiders recently signed Lanyae Miller, former Fresno State running back, and also have speedster Taiwan Jones at the position. So, it is conceivable to think that Oakland may let Bush go.
Coming to Cincinnati would be some sort of a homecoming for Bush. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky and also attended the University of Louisville. Bush is 6 foot 1 and weighs 245 pounds, so he is a bruiser at the running back position. This would work well in contrast with the smaller Bernard Scott. The Bengals could then focus on other positions in the draft instead of taking one in the first two rounds.
Bush certainly has a chance to escape from the shadow of McFadden this season. One of the main questions with him is if he can handle being a number one back. He started to tire out at the end of last season, likely because of the Raiders heavy reliance on him. Could the Bengals sign Bush and then possibly draft a back like Washington's Chris Polk in the third round? With about 60 million to spend, free agency cannot get here soon enough.