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A little cold water for the Reggie Bush trade talk

Yesterday, VT dug a little deeper into the possibility of the St. Louis Rams bringing in RB Reggie Bushsans Heisman Trophy - via trade with the New Orleans. Without a doubt, adding someone with the Bush's talent to what figures to be an explosive offense conjures Greatest Show-like fantasies, even if Bush hasn't exactly lived up to his potential lately. The potential cost and likelihood of such a trade, not to mention the rumor itself, is a good example of where fantasy and reality diverge. 

As far as the rumor of the Rams being a potential trade partner for Bush, we have little to go on. The post at this Saints blog sites nothing, not even their own sources, linking the Rams to Reggie Bush. The Rams have been talked about as a potential landing spot for Bush out of sheer matchmaking, nothing concrete. You don't have to be Chuck Woolery to see the fit as a luxury complement to Steven Jackson. 

As of now, well, as of whenever the NFL opens for business again, Bush can only be acquired via trade. Due $11.8 million as of week one of the season, the Saints have little use for an expensive rotational running back that isn't going to see much time behind Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and first-round pick Mark Ingram. The real question is why would any team trade for Bush when they can just wait for New Orleans to cut him, which they'd most certainly have to do with only about $15 million in cap space and some needs to address on defense. 

Last week, the Times-Picayune cited one NFL source who said that Bush could fetch a fourth-round pick, which could bump up to a conditional third-round pick, depending on how Bush does in his new home. A third-round pick is pricey for a Wild West-like free agent market that should have more than enough running backs, including a more affordable, albeit older version of Bush in Darren Sproles

Would the Rams be willing to send a third-round pick to the Saints for Bush? Surely not. Billy Devaney hasn't been shy about pursuing expensive contracts, but he has a record of prudent trades. No team would want to take on Bush's $11.8 million salary for 2011, so they would have to work out a new contract in principal before agreeing to a trade.  There's also his injury history.

Reggie Bush will never be more than a role player in the NFL, but in that role with St. Louis he could add another dimension to Josh McDaniels' offense. His early career has been marked by distractions, from the USC circus to watching his talentless ex-girlfriend earn an even bigger spotlight. A change of venues might be just what the 26-year-old needs. Playing in a media market like St. Louis could only help, but I wouldn't be so charitable as to surrender a third-round pick for that opportunity.