Saints notebook: NFL rescinds Rafael Bush’s $21,000 fine

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) recovers a fumble by Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the second quarter Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) recovers a fumble by Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the second quarter Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

It has been a good week for Saints safety Rafael Bush’s bank account.

Two days after the Saints matched an offer for the restricted free agent to play in Atlanta for two seasons and up to $4.5 million, the player got word that the NFL rescinded a $21,000 fine for the hit he put on Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin during New Orleans’ defeat at Seattle in January’s divisional playoff game.

Bush’s agent, William Brian Anderson, confirmed the rescinded fine Thursday.

The hit in question happened when Harvin was trying to catch a deep pass on a third-and-11 from New Orleans’ 41 on Seattle’s opening possession. Bush hammered the Seahawks wideout, the pass fell incomplete and officials flagged the Saints safety for a hit on a defenseless receiver. They assessed a 15-yard penalty.

Harvin left the game and was examined for a concussion but returned. He left the game for good later in the first half after he banged his head on the turf in the end zone of CenturyLink Field on another pass.

The league subsequently imposed the fine on Bush, but Anderson indicated to The Advocate at the time that his client would appeal.

Bush went on Twitter on Wednesday and wrote, “I just realized it took me 3 months to appeal my last fine yep can I have my 21 back now thank you.”

The nullification of the fine capped off a headline-making week for Bush.

On April 3, news broke that Bush had signed an offer sheet from the Falcons. But the Saints had until Tuesday to match the offer because the team had given him a one-year, $1.4 million restricted free-agent tender in March.

They matched it Monday.

Fans were infuriated Bush considered defecting to the NFC South rival Falcons, but he said his decision was in the best interest of his wife and his 1-year-old daughter.

“I was happy either way,” Bush said about playing in Atlanta or remaining with the Saints, whose offense and defense were ranked fourth in 2013. “Now (staying in New Orleans), I have a chance and an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”

$3.6 million under the cap

With the new deals for nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley, cornerback Champ Bailey and Bush going on the books Thursday, the Saints were about $3.6 million under the 2014 salary cap, according to the NFL Players Association website.

Bunkley cut his 2014 pay by nearly $2.9 million Wednesday. He was originally owed $4.5 million in salary and bonuses for the upcoming season, but he’s due to make $1.65 million after slicing his compensation, information from both the NFLPA site and media reports indicate.

The Saints signed Champ Bailey to a two-year deal that became official Wednesday and guarantees him only $500,000 but offers millions more in incentives. His deal will cost $1.25 million against the cap, ESPN reported.

As for Bush, the Saints gave him a $3.8 million deal that includes up to $750,000 in incentives for a Pro Bowl selection as well as interceptions in 2015, The Baltimore Sun reported. It has a full guarantee of $850,000 and a base salary of $1.85 million in 2014.

Some $350,000 are deferred to March 31, 2015, The Sun reported. Wilson added that Bush’s 2015 base salary is $1.95 million.

N.O. eyes more college prospects

The NFL Network reported that the Saints hosted Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron on Wednesday and had a pre-draft visit with him Thursday. Herron has drawn third-round projections.

He is the fourth college wideout who could be taken in the first two days of the draft and has been linked to the Saints. The others are Southern California’s Marqise Lee, who visited earlier in the week; and LSU duo Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who had dinner plans with the Saints after the Tigers’ Pro Day on Wednesday. Lee and Beckham project as first rounders; Landry is pegged as a second- to third-rounder.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma defensive back Aaron Colvin told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday that he had a visit set up with the Saints. He already visited the Eagles and was also planning to do the same with the 49ers.

Colvin tore an anterior cruciate ligament during a Senior Bowl practice in January in Mobile, Ala. He was projected to be taken in the first three rounds of the draft heading into the Senior Bowl, but he’s now tabbed as a mid- to late-rounder. At the scouting combine in February, he reportedly said he had been told he could be ready in time for preseason training camps.