Bush, Texans try to hash out a deal
Team negotiator, USC star's agent exchange ideas
By JOHN MCCLAIN
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
One week before the NFL draft, the Texans intensified negotiations with running back Reggie Bush in an attempt to get the Heisman Trophy winner from Southern California signed in time to make him the first overall pick.
Vice president of football administration Dan Ferens, who handles negotiations, exchanged contract proposals with agent Joel Segal. There are expected to continue negotiations as the Texans try to sign Bush before the draft.
Although no one in the organization will admit it publicly, owner Bob McNair prefers the top pick to be signed by the time commissioner Paul Tagliabue announces the Texans' selection at 11 a.m. on April 29.
Neither side would comment Friday on the negotiations.
The primary issue will be guaranteed money. Quarterback Alex Smith, taken first by San Francisco last year, received $24 million in guaranteed money. Segal is expected to argue that Bush deserves more because players almost always get an increase from the previous year.
How much more could be a sticking point. The Texans, known for overpaying players, will argue that Bush is a running back and doesn't deserve a huge increase over what a quarterback was paid the previous year.
The Texans also are interested in North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams. He's the best defensive player in the draft. Ferens has been in contact with Ben Dogra, who represents Williams