Reggie Bush is no longer a Miami Dolphin. The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday that they signed the former second-overall draft pick to a free agent contract.
The Lions have not disclosed terms of Bush's deal. Bush was the Dolphins' all-purpose yardage leader in each of the last two seasons with 1,278 yards from scrimmage in 2012 and 1,382 in 2011. He rushed for 2,072 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins, only 18 yards less than his output over his first five seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
The Dolphins were not expected to sign Bush this offseason, on the assumption that the team would target free agent WR Mike Wallace (who signed a 5-year deal worth at least $60 million yesterday).
Bush signed a two-year deal worth $9.75 million before the 2011 season, but was expected to cost more this offseason. back then, NFL executives doubted Bush could be an every-down back. He proved them wrong by averaging 14 carries per game with the Dolphins, nearly twice his usage with the Saints.
In Bush's place, RBs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas will compete for the starting RB job. Thomas has an extra year of experience, but Miller's skill set more closely resembles that of Bush. Last year, Miller ran for 250 yards on 51 carries with a touchdown in his rookie season.
Thomas ran for 325 yards on 91 carries but struggled with fumbles (he had 3 while Miller had none) and his yards-per-carry was significantly lower than Miller's (3.6 to 4.9).
In college at the University of Miami, Miller was a constant big-play threat. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and scoring 17 touchdowns in his last two seasons with the Canes.
By allowing Bush to walk while signing the expensive Wallace (and also giving a $31 million contract extension to WR Brian Hartline), Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has signaled that the team will shift from a run-first offense to a pass-first offense. The Dolphins' struggles to score points quickly have been one of the biggest reasons the team has not made the playoffs in the past four seasons. By beefing up the receiver corps, Ireland may have given young quarterback Ryan Tannehill the tools he needs to succeed in his second season.