Sources: Saints reach out to Parys Haralson, Rafael Bush

Add outside linebacker Parys Haralson and safety Rafael Bush to the list of players the Saints would like to prevent from departing in free agency.

Representatives for Haralson — a 30-year-old Mississippi native set to become an unrestricted free agent — and Bush, a restricted free agent, have had initial discussions with the Saints about prolonging the players’ stays in New Orleans, league sources told The Advocate on Tuesday.

Haralson was a valuable contributor after the Saints traded a late-round draft pick to San Francisco for him in the wake of Will Smith suffering a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.

He had 3.5 sacks in the regular season, fourth-most on the team, among 30 tackles. He tore a pectoral muscle during the Saints’ wild-card playoff win at Philadelphia and had surgery, but a source said he’s on schedule to be healthy when offseason workout programs begin in April.

In his second year with the Saints, Bush was credited by the team with 45 tackles (29 solo) and six pass break-ups over 13 games and six starts. He handled an increased workload well early in the season when safeties Malcolm Jenkins (an unrestricted free agent) and Roman Harper (who has been released) were injured.

Bush also performed well after rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro suffered a season-ending ankle fracture in Week 16. And if New Orleans is unable to keep Jenkins, Bush may be the heir apparent to the starting job at free safety.

The Saints have two options to retain Bush: They can tender a contract to him by March 11, which would give them the right to match any offer he might get from other teams, or they could sign him to a long-term deal. The lowest tender Bush could be offered would be about $1.3 million, a source said.

New Orleans recently has spoken with a number of its players who are due to hit free agency March 11, including tackle Zach Strief and receiver Robert Meachem. The Saints had those early discussions while carrying an estimated salary-cap figure of $125 million. Recent reports have projected the 2014 cap could be about $132 million, if not more.

The main thing the Saints hope to accomplish with any available cap space is to hang on to All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham. They’re pursuing a new long-term contract or, if that doesn’t materialize, can apply the franchise tag on him. The Saints and Graham remained millions of dollars per season apart from a long-term deal, Fox Sports reported Tuesday.

Loston has tough combine results

LSU safety Craig Loston didn’t have the greatest workouts Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Among his results: The senior clocked in at 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the fourth-slowest among 17 safeties. The best time was 4.42 seconds by Florida State’s Terrence Brooks. Loston’s vertical leap came in at 32.5 inches, tied for the third-lowest and 5 inches behind the leader in the event, again Brooks. His broad jump was better: It was tied for the fifth-best, a half-foot off leader Kenny Ladler of Vanderbilt (127).

Loston came to the combine pegged to be chosen in the third or fourth round of the draft.

Gleason up for Shorty

Steve Gleason is a finalist for a Shorty, a social media award, after he demonstrated how he can send messages on Twitter despite being bound to a wheelchair.

Gleason, the former Saints safety who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and launched a foundation dedicated to fighting the disease, tweets with his eyes via a computer mounted to his wheelchair.

Gleason was NBC’s guest social media analyst the night of the Saints’ wild-card game in Philadelphia. On his Twitter account (@TeamGleason), he posted a looping, seven-second video known as a Vine to promote his appearance. In it, he wears a red T-shirt with the words “Hecho en NOLA” — Spanish for “made in NOLA.” He types, “Who Dat,” then winks at the camera.

The Shorty awards are given out by the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts and Sciences. The category is for Best Vine. The winner will be announced April 7.