Every time a high profile free agent his the market or about to hit the market, the rumors and speculation begin around Steelers Nation that the Steelers should go after said free agent. The newest name making the rounds is of course Saints running back Reggie Bush. Bush is unlikely to return to the Saints in 2011 with New Orleans who are unwilling to pay him $11.8 million in base salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract. Bush saw the writing on the wall after the Saints took running back Mark Ingram with the 28th overall pick in Thursday\’s NFL draft and posted on his Twitter account, “It\’s been fun New Orleans.”
When and if Bush gets his release upon the start of free agency, you can be almost certain the Steelers will have no interest in going after the oft injured USC running back who hasn’t lived up to his college hype since being drafted 2nd overall by the Saints in 2006. Sure the Steelers have a need for a 3rd down back with the likely departure of unrestricted free agent Mewelde Moore, but they drafted Texas Tech running back Baron Batch in the 7th round this weekend and are hoping he is indeed the fill for the need. Batch too has an injury history, but he is not a diva and is incredibly hungry. He is already shown in college he has the affinity for blitz pick up and has as soft of hands as Bush does. His character is impeccable in addition. No diva here.
On top of everything else I mentioned, Bush will command more than an average salary and there certainly will be teams willing to pay it and take their chances with him. One of those teams will not be the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers do not seek high profile free agents and still have to find ways to accommodate their own free agents and potential free agents in addition. Getting cornerback Ike Taylor re-signed and getting franchised linebacker LaMarr Woodley signed to a long term deal is what is on their mind right now, not chasing the latest free agent buzz word player.
Should Batch not win a spot on the 53 man roster, the Steelers can always turn to a one year, lower priced, third down free agent running back like they did with Mooore. Moore should not be ruled out as a possibility of returning either if they do not like what they have in Batch and conclude that Isaac Redman can’t assume the role. There also likely will be a few undrafted free agent running backs signed as soon as the lockout is over. Auburn running back Mario Fannin comes to mind instantly and I listed him on my potential undrafted free agent list as well yesterday.
Just a few short weeks ago Tiki Barber was the fascination of Steeler Nation and to no surprise that was quickly thwarted. The rumblings will continue about Bush as well and with almost certainty I can tell you that if they get loud enough, the Steelers will squash those as well. The running back whose last name you should be buzzing about right now has a last name that begins with a B. It is not Barber or Bush, it is Batch. In fact is full name has two B’s in it and two B’s can be better than one. Get Bush and Barber out of your head now.