Kevin Colbert Says No Decision Made On Devin Bush’s Fifth-Year Option, Expects LB To Be ‘Better Player’ In 2022

Eleven weeks from the May 2 deadline to pick up fifty-year options on 2019 first-round draft picks, the Pittsburgh Steelers have not made an official decision in regards to inside linebacker Devin Bush and his fifth-year option, Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert told reporters Monday, according to WPXI’s Jenna Harner.

Previously, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, a former NFL agent turned writer 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.

Knowing the value of the fifth-year option, Corry added to his tweet on January 28 that he didn’t expect that the Steelers to pick up Bush’s fifth-year option by the May 2 deadline.

However, according to Colbert, the Steelers haven’t made a decision one way or another, adding that he believes the Steelers’ young fourth-year linebacker will be a better player in 2022 than he was in 2021, which was a rather rough season for the former No. 10 overall pick.

It helps that the Steelers just added former Miami Dolphins head coach and New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores to the coaching staff as a Senior Defensive Assistant/LB coach, giving him access to Bush along with inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky.

“I know Devin can play better because he has played better,” Colbert said to reporters Monday, according to’s Bob Labrioala on Twitter.

There’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Bush being a better player in 2022 than he was last season, especially considering he’s another year fully removed from his torn ACL, and should have better players in front of him along the defensive line in Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt. Add in the addition of Flores, who will presumably get the opportunity to be hands-on with Bush, and there’s plenty of reasons to have optimism about No. 55 in the middle of the Steelers’ defense in 2022.

Should the Steelers pick up the fifth-year option of Bush, the fifth-year becomes fully guaranteed once exercised by teams. If the Steelers were to decline Bush’s fifth-year option, he’d be entering a contract year in 2022.

Bush, who missed all but five games in 2020 with a torn ACL, returned to acton right away in 2021 and played in 14 games, missing two games last season while on the COVID-19/Reserve list, and the Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders due to a groin injury. In his return from the ACL injury, Bush recorded 70 tackles, four defensed passes, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two sacks last season, adding just 2.0 tackles for loss in the process.

According to previous reporting by Steelers Depot’s Dave Bryan, since the fifth-year option became 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.

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