As usual, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have several interesting offseason decisions to make this year, and several will need to be made long before the team reports to training camp. One of those several important decisions the Steelers will have this offseason revolves around whether or not to pick up the fifth-year option on inside linebacker Devin Bush, the team’s first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
On Friday, former NFL agent Joel Corry, who now writes for CBS Sports and has his own podcast on contracts and the salary cap information, reported on Twitter that Bush’s fifth-year option amount for 2023 is currently scheduled to be $10.892 million, which is slightly higher than the $10.547 million amount that Over the Cap has for the Michigan product. Bush will only qualify for the lowest basic level when it comes to his fifth-year option amount as he is a player that failed to meet any of the requirements in the CBA for a higher amount that entailed him achieving playtime and Pro Bowl plateaus.
Regardless of what the exact amount of Bush’s fifth-year option ultimately turns out to be, Corry tweeted on Friday that he doesn’t expect that the Steelers will be picking it up by the May 2 deadline to do so. That’s not overly surprising to hear from Corry and especially on the heels of the very disappointing 2021 season that Bush had.
It’s important to remember that fifth-year options become fully guaranteed once exercised by teams. Assuming the Steelers don’t pick up the fifth-year option on Bush later in the offseason, 2022 would then become a contract year for the inside linebacker.
Bush, who missed most of the 2020 season with a torn ACL suffered in Week 6 that year, retuned in 2021 to play in 14 total games. He missed two games this past season due to him being on the COVID-19 list. A groin injury early in the season resulted in Bush missing the team’s Week 2 game as well. He finished the 2021 regular season with 70 total tackles, four defensed passes, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two sacks. He also only had two tackles for loss on the season.
Since fifth-year options become available to teams beginning with players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft as part of a CBA change, the Steelers have decided to not exercise them on former first round selections just three times in total. Those three players they did not pick up the fifth-year options on previously were outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, cornerback Artie Burns and safety Terrell Edmunds.
Bush is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $3,068,424 in 2022 and carry a cap charge of $6,004,654.