Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently published an article suggesting one player each NFL team shoulder consider trading ahead of the 2022 season. Some of the names on his list are obvious like Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield who has made his feeling known about the Browns organization after they went about acquiring QB Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, expressing a desire to get traded from the team for a fresh start.
Still, other names on this list can be considered as stretch as Sobleski points out at the beginning of his piece. One name that those outside the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base that could make sense that Sobleski uses for his candidate due to his public perception in none other than LB Devin Bush.
“After a strong rookie campaign, he suffered a torn ACL during his second season. He didn’t look like the same explosive or confident athlete the following year. The organization, meanwhile, signed Myles Jack in March. Robert Spillane gained starting experience over the last two seasons. Buddy Johnson can possibly take on a bigger role as well. Pittsburgh needs consistency from its linebackers since they will be asked to carry the team at points. The group is capable of doing so with T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick leading the way. The defense doesn’t necessarily need Bush to achieve its goals.”
Sobleski also points to The Athletic’s recent comments that Bush is likely in his last year in Pittsburgh after the team decided not to pick up his fifth-year option. While it may be the case that Bush is plying not only for a contract this season for Pittsburgh, but also all other 31 teams who could be interested in signing him in 2023 should he return to form pre-ACL injury, the notion that Pittsburgh should up and trade Bush in the final year of his rookie contract makes little sense for several reasons.
First, Pittsburgh isn’t in the business of trading away rookies, let alone ones with first-round draft capital, regardless of their play up until their final season on their rookie deals. Sure, Martavis Bryant is an exception, but the Raiders presented an offer that Pittsburgh couldn’t refuse given the problems that Bryant had created off-the-field the last couple seasons prior to the trade. Pittsburgh declined the fifth-year options of Terrell Edmunds, Artie Burns, and even Jarvis Jones, but all of them played out their rookie contracts in Pittsburgh despite their lack of preforming up to their draft billing.
Second, Bush is slotted in to start next to Myles Jack in Pittsburgh’s base and nickel defense. Sure, Robert Spillane subbed in for Bush at times last season, but Bush fully recovered from his ACL injury and with an offseason of coaching by the likes of Brian Flores and Jerry Olsavsky should help him have the best chance to return to the player he was pre-ACL. That player has a far higher athletic ceiling than Spillane could dream to have, potentially forming a talented duo in the middle with Jack. The suggestion of Buddy Johnson honestly is a feeble one, seeing as Johnson only saw six defensive snaps last season, making him a relative unknown at this point.
Finally, Bush should be aided in the fact that Pittsburgh’s defensive line should be much improved from the unit that took the field last season, adding the likes of Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, and DeMarvin Leal into the mix who didn’t see the field last year. Bush is at his best when he is allowed to run unimpeded to the ball, using his speed to his advantage. Yes, he does need to improve his ability to stack and shed blocks, but any linebacker that is constantly getting covered up is going to struggle against the run, especially a smaller, quicker linebacker like Bush whose game is predicated on speed, not power.
In summary, it’s safe to say that Pittsburgh won’t be trading Devin Bush any time soon albeit some mental breakdown or if some team comes calling with an offer Pittsburgh cannot refuse. A more likely name for a player that could get traded prior to the 2022 would be QB Mason Rudolph who has been widely speculated to already be on the trade block after the team signed Mitch Trubisky and drafted Kenny Pickett and Chris Oladokun.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans should be hoping the best for Devin Bush in 2022, not trying to chase him out of town. There is the chance that he flops again despite the change of circumstances, or he can rise to the occasion like Bud Dupree did several seasons ago to give Pittsburgh the difficult decision of whether to franchise tag or extend Bush after the 2022 season concludes.
What are your thoughts on Devin Bush? Do you think that it is likely that Pittsburgh trades him before the season, or are you in the same camp that this isn’t probable? Who is the most likely player to get traded from the roster prior to the season getting underway? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!