Originally posted on NFL News & Rumors  |  Last updated 2/27/12

One of the biggest question marks facing the Raiders this off-season is what direction they should take with running back Michael Bush, who’s currently slated to be a free agent when the signing period begins in two weeks.

Using their franchise tag to keep Bush in the fold for at least another season was once thought to be a legitimate option for Oakland, but if reports out of the Bay Area are to be taken seriously, there is very little chance of that happening, given the salary implications of such a move.

Franchising Bush would guarantee him a contract of approximately $7.7 million for next season, an astronomically absurd number for a player that is not even considered to be the best player at his position on the team. When combined with the cap numbers presented by fellow running backs Darren McFadden ($5.65 million) and Taiwan Jones ($465,000), the Raiders would essentially be committing $14 million to the running back position alone.

Putting all of that together, Steve Corkran of the Oakland Tribune indicated that Oakland has “zero interest” in designating Bush as their franchise player, preferring instead of let him walk via free agency and find a much more cost effective route with which they can backup the oft-injured McFadden next fall.

Bush, 27, played in all 16 games last season, carrying the ball 256 times for 977 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 418 yards and one touchdown.

Teams likely to be interested include Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Washington, and Kansas City.

©2012 NFL News & Rumors. All Rights Reserved.

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