Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Steelers decline to pick up Devin Bush’s fifth-year option, per report; linebacker is a former top-10 pick

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have declined to pick up linebacker Devin Bush’s fifth-year option, according to ESPN. The 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Bush will enter the final year of his rookie contract. 

The former Michigan Wolverine returned last season after missing most of the 2020 campaign after tearing his ACL. Bush struggled at the start of the 2021 season, but began to find his footing as the season progressed. He finished the season with 70 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 14 regular season games. Bush recorded an interception off of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Pittsburgh’s wild card playoff loss to Kansas City. 

Bush enjoyed a fast start to his NFL career. In his first six games, Bush tallied two interceptions and four fumble recoveries, as well as a touchdown during Pittsburgh’s road win over the Chargers in Week 6 of the 2019 season. He finished his rookie campaign with 109 tackles while helping Pittsburgh finish fifth in the NFL in scoring defense. 

During the 2020 season, Bush logged 26 tackles and a sack in five games before suffering his season-ending injury against the Cleveland Browns. Bush returned to the lineup at the start of the 2021 season, appearing in over 80% of the Steelers’ defensive stats on nine occasions. His playing time was reduced at the end of the season, however, as Bush played in just 51% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps in the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Chiefs. 

Bush is expected to reprise his role in Pittsburgh’s starting lineup in 2022. He will be flanked in the starting lineup by former Jaguars Pro Bowl linebacker Myles Jack, who was signed by the Steelers earlier this offseason. Pittsburgh added to their depth at inside linebacker during the draft when they selected former Ole Miss linebacker Mark Robinson in the seventh round. A former running back who recently converted to linebacker, Robinson made 91 tackles in three sacks during his final season at Ole Miss. 

Bush is the second Steelers former first-round pick in as many years who did not have his fifth-year option picked up by the club. Safety Terrell Edmunds, the Steelers’ 2018-first round pick, re-signed with Pittsburgh late last month after the team declined to pick up his option last offseason. 

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