Bears keep spending for backup running backs

The Chicago Bears are hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to backup running backs.

If it is, they’ll have some quality insurance on the roster in the event contract negotiations with Matt Forte never find a break through. That’s because the Bears agreed to terms with Michael Bush today, the third veteran running back the team has signed in three years to play behind Forte, who is coming off his first Pro Bowl season.

Bush receives a four-year deal worth $14 million. It includes $7 million guaranteed. He follows Chester Taylor, who was paid a whopping $7 million in 2010 and Marion Barber, who picked up $2.5 million last season. Sure, you can empathize with Forte when he’s upset about not having a long-term deal. The Bears have secured him for 2012 with the franchise tag, which will pay him $7.742 million if a multi-year deal cannot be brokered by July 16.

Bush is coming off a career-best season with the Oakland Raiders. He’s a multi-dimensional back who is effective as a receiver out of the backfield, like Forte. That gives him value and in the event a deal cannot be done with Forte, the Bears could have a starting-caliber back in place.

Barber remains under contract for this season. He is due $1.9 million in base salary with a workout bonus of $100,000. It’s expected he will be released at some point.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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