The Buffalo Bills’ revamped secondary featured two stellar starting safeties in 2017. Free agent acquisitions Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer each had career years, but when both players were injured against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Bills were left with subpar depth playing crucial snaps.
The Bills added veteran Rafael Bush to the fold this season, hoping that he will provide better play as a backup safety than Shamarko Thomas and Colt Anderson did in 2017. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at the newest member of Buffalo’s safety rotation.
Name: Rafael Bush
Height/Weight: 5’11,” 205 lbs.
College: South Carolina State
Draft: Entered league as UDFA; signed with the Atlanta Falcons on 4/26/2010
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bush signed a 2-year contract worth $3.5 million in March. The veteran carries a cap number of $1.7 million for the 2017 season.
2017 Recap: Bush played sparingly with the New Orleans Saints last year, appearing on only 181 defensive snaps (17.11%) and 130 special teams snaps (28.14%) with the team. He had 1 sack and 22 tackles on the season. He also broke up one pass.
Positional outlook: With Hyde and Poyer firmly entrenched as the starters, depth is all that is necessary here. Bush is the longest-tenured NFL player of all the safeties currently on Buffalo’s roster. His ability to contribute on special teams, along with the $900,000 in guaranteed money on his contract, makes him a safe bet for the final roster as the third safety. Other players with whom he’ll battle for time are rookie Siran Neal and veterans Dean Marlowe, L.J. McCray, and Kelcie McCray.
2018 Offseason: Bush said he was very excited to work with Hyde and Poyer upon signing with Buffalo in March, but little has been written about him since. In that interview, Bush mentioned his path to the NFL coming through a willingness to play special teams, comparing his career beginnings to that of new teammate Jordan Poyer.
2018 season outlook: Barring injury, Bush will most likely serve as Buffalo’s third safety when the team makes its 53-man roster in early September. His experience gives him a leg up on his other competition, and his ability to play special teams makes him that much more valuable.