Source: Bush, Saints could agree to deal very soon
Although considerable work remains on the deal, a source close to the negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and first-round draft choice Reggie Bush told ESPN.com on Saturday night that the two sides have made "significant progress" in bargaining.
The source said that an agreement in principle could be arrived at fairly quickly, perhaps by Saturday night or Sunday morning, provided the positive momentum created through the day continues.
The two sides were scheduled to continue negotiations by phone well into Saturday night.
"I wouldn't say [an agreement] is imminent," said the source, "but if things keep coming together the way they have today, something could happen sooner rather than later."
It is not known how much impetus was provided by the contract that former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young, the third overall selection in the draft, agreed to this week. Young received $25.74 million in guarantees from the Tennessee Titans, slightly less than the $26.5 million in bonuses that the Houston Texans awarded top overall pick Mario Williams.
Bush was the second player chosen and has missed the first two days of training camp practices.
Before the Thursday discussions, the two sides had discussed framework and concepts, and perhaps even floated some dollar figures. But clearly, the talks have been ramped up the last few days.
Compounding the negotiations for the Saints was the fact that Bush, who has embraced the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans and already made several sizeable donations to charities there, has banked $5 million-$7 million in various endorsement contracts negotiated by Mike Ornstein, his marketing agent.
That certainly alleviated the urgency for Bush to sign a contract quickly, since he already has considerable cash flow.
Bush said during the team's rookie minicamp in May that he wanted to be in camp on time and that he had instructed Segal to attempt to accomplish that goal. But only a few days later, Bush clarified his remarks, telling ESPN.com that any contract had to be a sound business decision.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.