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Did the Latest NFL Lockout Ruling Cost the Oakland Raiders Michael Bush?

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The course of the NFL Lockout has meant that the perception of free agency have had to remain fluid. After Judge Nelson ruled to lift the lockout it seemed as if the 2010 rules governing free agency would be in effect. With the recent ruling to permanently stay the lift of the lockout containing wording that makes the appeal appear to be an almost certainty it looks like the only road to the 2011 NFL season is the called New CBA.

While nobody knows what the new CBA will hold it is likely that restricted free agency will go back to the 2009 version. I couldn't find much in the way of info or rumors on this, but I did find this from Peter King of Sports Illustrated:

it's very likely that when a new CBA happens, unrestricted free agency will revert to the original rules -- if you're not franchise- or transition-tagged when unsigned after four or five years, you're free.

If this is the case then Zach Miller, Samson Satele, and Michael Bush are going to slide from restricted to unrestricted free agents. Under these circumstances I would fully expect Zach Miller to be one of the first players inked to a long term deal. By all accounts Miller seems to like being in Oakland and Oakland seems to enjoy having him, and he is certainly a vital part of the offense. The Raiders will pay him well.

Michael Bush on the other hand is a different story. Jump over for the why....
While the Raiders showed their appreciation for Bush by placing the highest possible tender he is part of a talented backfield and he is going to be a prized free agent. Bush is arguably the best free agent back on the market. A team may offer Bush a deal worth more than the Raiders are willing or allowed to pay.

I say allowed because the other side of this is that the I have to believe that the new CBA is going to contain a salary cap. And after Al Davis went on a pre-lockout, front-loaded spending spree the Raiders already have a big chunk of coin devoted to 2011. I couldn't find an official number on this, but I did see that prior to any of the signings made this offseason the Raiders team salary was at just over $85 million.

The Raiders have since added on, for 2011, Seymour's $15 million, Routt's $10 million, Wimbley's $10-11 million—if signs his franchise tag—and then approximately $2 million apiece for Loper and Eugene. That takes the Raiders to roughly $125 million. In 2009 the salary cap was $128 million.

That is alarming. However, it is way too early to get worked up about, or involved with, the cap. Who knows how the NFL or the new CBA will deal with it?

Whatever the case is with the cap though the chances of Michael Bush being a luxury the Raiders can afford are shrinking. He is going to get offered a lucrative long term deal.