When it comes to free agency, Mike Tomlin has as saying: “Its free for them and its free for us.”
The saying has many take aways, but one of those is that free agency is as much about giving players a chance to search for better opportunities as it is about teams searching for better players. It also gives teams chance to clean their slates, so to speak.
When it comes to Devin Bush reaching free agency, both of those factors will be in play.
Capsule Profile of Devin Bush’s Career with the Steelers
Desperate to fill the hole created by Ryan Shazier’s injury, Devin Bush arrived in Pittsburgh as Kevin Colbert traded up to get him with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
- As a rookie, Devin Bush delivered.
He was a dynamic, explosive player who played 82% of the defensive snaps, while making 1 interception, 2 sacks, forcing 1 fumble, recovering 4 fumbles including one returned for a touchdown. But Bush didn’t just make those “Splash Plays.” He showed a knack for making them at opportune times.
Devin Bush started his sophomore season in similar fashion, splitting two sacks with other defenders and batting away 4 passes before tearing his ACL in the Steelers home win over the Browns.
- But Devin Bush was never the same player after his ACL injury.
Although his 2021 snap count clocked in at just below 80%, the splash plays disappeared. Moreover, his tackle count dropped from 109 as a rookie to 70. Bush’s play stabilized under Brian Flores, but by the end of the season he was playing behind not only Robert Spillane but also rookie Mark Robinson.
The Case for the Steelers Resigning Devin Bush
Devin Bush knows the system and his failure to live up to his ballyhooed draft position actually works for the Steelers here. No one is going to throw money at Devin Bush so the Steelers can extend him an offer more or less at their leisure and keep a known commodity in Pittsburgh
The Case Against the Steelers Resigning Devin Bush
The rational for paying such a heavy price to get Devin Bush was that he was the type of player who could replace Shazier and shore up the defense sufficiently to give the Steelers one final shot at a Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger.
Whether it’s because of his injuries or because his rookie year was just a flash in the pan, Devin Bush didn’t deliver.
It is time for the Steelers to move on.
Curtain’s Call on the Steelers and Devin Bush
This is where, “Its free for us and free for them” kicks in. Two generations ago a team would draft a player like Bush, a player whose career fell somewhere on the continuum between “Total Bust” and “Clear disappointment ” and be stuck with him for the better part of a decade.
- Think Keith Gary, Walter Abercrombie and/or John Rienstra.
That’s not true anymore. Devin Bush is a bust and the Steelers can move on from Bush and clean their slate, and Bush can seek a new beginning. Expect both sides to do exactly that.
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