Steelers make easy choice by declining fifth-year option for Devin Bush

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush (55). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush (55). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Devin Bush may have been the former 10th overall pick, but here’s why the Steelers made the right choice by declining his fifth-year option. 

It usually doesn’t take too long to figure out the career paths of most young players. Back in 2019, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded from pick 20 to pick 10 to land an undersized linebacker in Michigan’s Devin Bush.

At the time of the selection, I was a fan of the player. While I didn’t agree with trading up for a linebacker, I thought Bush was going to be a very solid player in the NFL. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Immediately following the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to make a choice in regards to Bush’s future with the team. With the deadline to exercise the fifth-year option, the front office made its decision. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Steelers will not give Bush the fifth-year option. He will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2022 season.

Though we don’t know what type of conversations went down here, I’d have to imagine that it was a pretty easy decision to make. Sadly, it’s also a telltale sign that your former first-round selection has not been very successful.

Steelers made the right move by declining Bush’s option

It’s always a tough pill to swallow knowing that our team swung and missed on such a high draft choice, but it’s just impossible to justify giving Devin Bush the fifth-year option. This added year would have paid Bush over $10 million in 2023. So far, he hasn’t been worth a fraction of that amount.

Bush showed some promise as a rookie. WHile is play was inconsistent game-to-game, he was able to come away with some splash plays including a pair of interceptions a fumble returned for a touchdown, and 9 tackles for a loss, according to Pro Football Reference.

In his second season in 2020, Bush didn’t even play five full games before tearing his ACL. When he finally rejoined his teammates on the field in 2021, the results were quite unspectacular, as Bush was washed out in the run game and exposed often in the passing game.

Entering his fourth NFL season and another year removed from his ACL injury, Devin Bush is still just 23 years old. With some of the flashes we have seen in the past, it stands to reason that Bush could continue to improve.

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However, it’s understandable why the fifth-year option was far too big of a gamble for a team that probably hasn’t even gotten average play out of their former 10th overall pick. Bush could very well make a big leap in 2022, but that’s a gamble the Steelers are willing to live with. If he does, perhaps they try to sign him to a long-term deal if his market falls through in free agency next year.