Saints Match Falcons’ Offer Sheet to Rafael Bush

MONDAY 3:33pm: The Saints have matched the offer sheet Bush signed with the Falcons, the player tweeted. Agent Brian Anderson confirmed the news, tweets Vaughn McClure of

SATURDAY 9:50am: The offer sheet is worth $4.5MM over two years, according to The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas, who says Bush would prefer if the Saints let him go to Atlanta where he has the chance to start.

THURSDAY 3:53pm: Nearly a month ago, the Saints issued a contract tender to restricted free agent Rafael Bush, giving the team the chance to match any offers the safety received. Now, the Saints have been presented with that opportunity. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), Bush has signed an offer sheet with the Falcons, giving the Saints five days to either match the offer and retain him, or let him go to Atlanta.

Bush, 26, started six games in the Saints’ secondary last season, compiling 47 tackles and five passes defended. Though his numbers weren’t flashy, the three-year veteran graded well as a cover man, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), whose metrics ranked him 24th among 86 qualified safeties.

The Saints’ tender to Bush was a one-year offer worth $1.431MM. Because the team opted to tender him at the lowest amount, no compensatory picks will change hands if New Orleans decides not to match his offer from Atlanta. Terms of the Falcons’ offer sheet aren’t known yet, but I’d expect it to be a multiyear offer with about the same annual average value as the Saints’ tender.

So far this offseason, the restricted free agent market has been fairly quiet. Only Andrew Hawkins received an offer sheet, with the Bengals electing to let their receiver go to the Browns.

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