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Should the San Diego Chargers sign running back Reggie Bush?

The former USC Trojan, New Orleans Saint, Miami Dolphin, and Detroit Lion is on the market. Should the Chargers be interested?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions today have parted ways with running back Reggie Bush (as originally reported by Adam Schefter). The Lions cap situation isn't great. They have multiple quality running backs on their roster including Joique Bell and Theo Riddick. Bush's cap figure was higher than the team could justify, so his release isn't that surprising.

The question now, of course, is, "should the San Diego Chargers try to sign Reggie Bush?" Bush is certainly a bigger name than any of the Chargers current backs thanks mostly to his college career in which he starred at USC and won a Heisman Trophy. His time in the NFL has been somewhat of a letdown after all of the hype he generated as an amateur, but he's been a fairly productive player and he has flashed big play ability as a professional.

Before even evaluating Bush, though, it's important to determine what the opportunity cost of acquiring him will be. He can't be expected to come overly cheap and that means you can't reasonably expect the Chargers to both sign him and re-sign Ryan Mathews. Now, some will suggest that's not that bad because Ryan Mathews is always hurt and not as good as LaDainian Tomlinson was. News Flash: Almost nobody is even half as good as LT and Mathews while injury prone isn't some kind of non-factor that you can immediately write off as expected to miss half or more of every season.

Okay, that's the opportunity cost, but what's the value? Honestly, based on last year, it's not that much. Based on Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, Bush was below average as a runner and below replacement level as a receiver. He also missed substantial time and isn't getting any younger. The sub-replacement level receiving numbers aren't in line with his career production, but the below average rushing is.

What's the verdict, then? While we all enjoyed watching Reggie Bush at USC, he can't be expected to provide any real value to the Chargers or anyone else in 2015. Unless he's making the vet minimum, the Chargers should stay away, and even then he's not necessarily worth their time.