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2012 NFL Free Agency: Keeping Michael Bush In Oakland Will Be Tough

The Oakland Raiders will be in a tough position with one of their running backs this offseason. Michael Bush, the team's leading rusher in 2011, is set to become an unrestricted free agent and considering the fact that he wants to be a team's feature back, he probably doesn't want to be in a Raiders uniform in 2012. The problem in Oakland is that Darren McFadden is the team's feature back, but in his four years with the team, he has yet finish a whole season. Last year, McFadden only played in the first seven games of the year before he was sidelined with a foot injury.

The Raiders want to keep Bush in their backfield, but in order to do so, they'll likely have to use the franchise tag on him. According to the Contra Coast Times' Steve Corkran, Bush could have played his last game as an Oakland Raider.

Running back Michael Bush wants to be a starting running back. He realizes that isn't apt to happen in Oakland as long as Darren McFadden is on the roster.

Therefore, Bush likely won't be interested in a long-term contract. Given that, the Raiders have to decide whether they want to use the franchise tag on Bush, to the tune of $7.7 million or so for 2012.

McKenzie has a history of working for a team that finds unheralded running backs and develops them into productive players. He also has McFadden and Taiwan Jones on the roster.

That makes it unlikely that Bush will be franchise-tagged. If so, the only other player who might get that designation is strong safety Tyvon Branch.

There are plenty of teams that could use help in the backfield and go after Bush if he hits the market. One of the favorites is the Cincinnati Bengals, who are likely moving away from Cedric Benson and have too many holes in their roster that not having to spend a top pick on a running back could really help them.

For more on the Raiders, head to Silver and Black Pride.