49ers Sign Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush agreed to join the 49ers on the fifth day of free agency. After being cut by the Lions in February—to save $1.7 million in salary-cap space—Bush will make San Francisco his fourth home in his 10-year career.
He is expected to share work duties with second-year running back Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter, who missed last season with an ACL injury. Together, they will attempt to fill the shoes of Frank Gore, who just joined the Colts on the first day of free agency.
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Since being drafted second overall by the Saints in 2006, Bush’s career has been somewhat of a disappointment, relative to his draft position. After playing a significant role in the Saints offense during 2009, when they won Super Bowl XLIV, he was traded to the Dolphins in 2011. He then played two seasons each for the Dolphins and Lions.
Throughout those nine years, Bush had two impressive seasons, 2011 and 2013. In 2011, he had 1,382 total yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. In 2013, his career-best season, he had a combined 1,512 yards from the line of scrimmage and seven touchdowns.
Following the most productive season of his career, Bush had his worst in 2014. Due to a lingering ankle injury that he suffered in Week 5, he played in only 11 games. He finished the season with a lackluster 550 total yards, 3.9 yards per carry, and two total touchdowns. And contradicting his reputation as an explosive running back, Bush’s elusive rating for the season was 41.7 (43rd among all running backs), and only three of his 76 total carries were for over 15 yards.
And last season was not the first time he had trouble staying on the field. In his nine-year career, he has missed a total of 28 regular-season games due to injury. Those injuries have included the aforementioned ankle sprain, multiple calf strains, PCL tear, MCL tear, and a meniscal tear in his knee. Without question, durability is a major concern for Bush.
In 2015, under new head coach Jim Tomsula and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, the 49ers offense is expected to throw the ball at short and intermediate distances more than they have in recent years. Because Bush’s greatest attribute is his receiving ability, he is expected to play the role of the receiving back in this 49ers three-headed backfield. Considering he had 40 receptions last season, and the entire 49ers backfield had 44, he seems to be the best candidate for that job.
Behind the third-best graded (plus 43.1) run-blocking offensive line in the league last season, Bush is projected to have 74 carries for 323 yards and two touchdowns on the ground next season. In the air, he is projected to have 33 receptions for 257 yards and a single touchdown. This puts him outside the top-50 fantasy running backs for both PPR and standard-scoring formats. Of the 49ers running backs, Carlos Hyde is expected to be the most valuable, as a low-end RB2.