Depth in the secondary is surely on the list of needs for the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
The team will make a move to address that by signing safety Rafael Bush away from the New Orleans Saints, a league source confirmed to The Buffalo News. Bush's pending deal, which can't be made official until the start of the new NFL league year Wednesday, was first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The contract, according to Rapoport, is for two years and worth up to $4.5 million.
Bush, 30, played in 14 games last season for New Orleans, but did not make any starts. He finished with 23 tackles, one sack and one pass defensed in playing 181 defensive snaps. An eight-year veteran, he has appeared in 76 career games with 14 starts, making 197 tackles, 2.0 sacks, three interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown), 12 passes defensed and one forced fumble.
After going undrafted out of South Carolina State, Bush signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons and spent most of the 2010 season and the first half of the 2011 season on their practice squad. He was on the 53-man roster for the season finale in 2010, but did not play in the game. Denver signed him off the Falcons’ practice squad in October 2011 and he played in six games that season. He spent four season with the Saints, one season with the Lions and then returned to New Orleans last year.
Bush ran for more than 3,500 yards in his high school career at Williston-Elko High in Williston, S.C. That included 1,800 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior. He was named all-state in each of his three years as a starter. He then went to South Carolina State to play defensive back, where he was named to the school’s all-decade team.
The Saints added former Panthers safety Kurt Coleman last week, which made Bush expendable.
The Bills' starters at safety are Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. The only two backups on the roster at the moment, Colt Anderson and Shamarko Thomas, are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents Wednesday. As a reserve safety, one of Bush's big responsibilities will be on special teams. He played 130 snaps on special teams last year for the Saints, making one tackle.