Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/30/13
After five subpar seasons in New Orleans, Reggie Bush finally built a steady foundation for himself with the Miami Dolphins. But after featuring Bush in their backfield for the past two season, the Dolphins may be better off moving on without him. The Dolphins exceeded expectations under rookie head coach Joe Philbin in 2012, finishing with an impressive 7-9 record after a major roster overhaul last offseason. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has officially been tabbed as the future of the Dolphins’ organization and he’s leading something of a youth movement in Miami, in which Bush may have no place. It’s not that his skills have diminished or he’s even reached his peak yet. Bush’s pure athleticism and talent are unquestionable. His speed goes uncontested in the open field and his moves are shiftier than a creature found in an episode of True Blood. His body also has endured far less wear and tear than other veteran running backs. Bush, who will be 28 years old by the start of next season, has carried the ball just 967 times and managed just over 1,300 touches (rushes and receptions) through his seven-year career so far. So, diminishing skills and durability aren’t real prominent issues for him. But even after posting two of of his most productive NFL seasons in each of the past two years, including his only 900-plus yard rushing campaigns, Bush is aging and doesn’t seem to gel with the Dolphins’ future plans. Miami has a few tantalizing options in house, which seem like better bets than Bush. Daniel Thomas (25 years old) and Lamar Miller (21) are still on board for the Dolphins. Both are a few years younger than Bush, have less than three years of experience in the league and are under team control for another few seasons — and at a relative bargain, too. Neither Thomas nor Miller established themselves as premier or very reliable backs in 2012 — Thomas ran 91 times for 325 yards and Miller carried the ball 51 times for 250 yards — but they both possess top-end talent and offer a lot of promise in the future of the Dolphins’ offense. After another impressive season on the ground, averaging better than 4.3 yards per carry, and with plenty of miles left on those legs, Bush should still be a hot free agent on the market this offseason. The Dolphins may make him an offer to stay at something of a hometown discount, but that would be more a show of good will than anything. Let’s face the facts: This will be Bush’s last big contract and he’s looking to get paid. So getting short-changed is not an option, but then again neither is staying in Miami. The Dolphins are getting younger and building for the future, and Bush just doesn’t fit into that strategy. So, while the people of Miami might be sad to see maybe their best playmaker go, it is in the best interest of the team. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
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