During the offseason leading up to the 2017 season, the Saints brought back a familiar face to help solidify their young secondary. After spending one season in Detroit, Rafael Bush had returned to his NFL home. The Saints opted to sign Bush to a one-year veteran minimum deal and move on from current “old man” Roman Harper.
A lot had changed while Bush was gone, but a lot was still the same. Bush was familiar with a lot of his teammates, the staff, and the scheme. The biggest change? He was now the veteran that rookies were looking up to. To the younger players, he was a fresh face and a new voice. And while he had a decent 2017, will the Saints bring him back in 2018 at the age of 31? Before we decide that, let’s look at what he did this past season.
What We Got In 2017
Bush appeared in 14 games in the regular season and both playoff games. In his limited snaps, only 17% of the defensive snaps, he recorded 1 pass defense, 1 sack, 14 tackles, and 5 assists, while adding 5 tackles and 1 assist in the postseason. For reference, Roman Harper in 2016 recorded 22 tackles and 3 assists while appearing in 16 games and starting four thanks to a Kenny Vaccaro suspension.
While his numbers might not be very impressive, keep in mind that he was the a backup safety on the depth chart and was brought in to be a veteran presence in the locker room. The Saints thought it was important to have veteran leadership for the continued development of Vonn Bell and rookie Marcus Williams. And if we are being completely honest with ourselves, Bush was also a safety net in case Williams had rookie struggles.
Will He Be Back In 2018?
This is a question that the Saints will need to answer, and answer fast since Free Agency is set to start on March 14. The Saints have already signed veteran safety Kurt Coleman from the Carolina Panthers, whom I would expect will fill the void of a Kenny Vaccaro departure. Speaking of Vaccaro, all signs are pointing to him leaving the team in Free Agency, leaving a void on the Saints defense.
However, Bush is a different player than Vaccaro, Bell, and Coleman. He is more of the free safety who roams the back field. If the Saints opt to keep him, he would be the primary backup to Marcus Williams as he heads into his sophomore season. With that said, there is a place for Bush on the team. The only question will be if the Saints want to continue to get younger or will they want to keep the veteran in place?
I am a lifelong Saints fan born and raised in North Louisiana, AKA Dallas Cowboys country. I was lucky enough to see some of the greatest moments in Saints history thanks to a dad who had season tickets. I also went to college at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, LA and got to be apart of the South Louisiana experience for over 10 years. I’m a daytime Realtor and a Saints writer by night.
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