The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if though managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Does Devin Bush come back to Pittsburgh with Robert Spillane set to leave?
The Steelers have three inside linebackers hitting unrestricted free agency today. Only one of them is expected to sign somewhere right away—Robert Spillane, the only one of the three who was not drafted. He will reportedly sign a two-year, $9 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Most anticipated that Pittsburgh would re-sign Spillane, who logged every defensive snap in the final four games. He likely would have been in the driver’s seat, at before the draft, for a starting job as well.
With Spillane gone it begs the question of whether that opens the door for Devin Bush returning. Even though I personally have a hard time seeing it happen, and don’t expect it to, I think it’s something to which we have to give some consideration.
The Steelers don’t have to re-sign Bush to some big-money deal as an intended starter. That’s not necessarily what we’re talking about here. He would be a placeholder and provide depth if the Steelers come across something better, and it’s not as though they haven’t looked.
Pittsburgh was reportedly in the hunt, for example, for Leighton Vander Esch, a very popular player among Steelers fans prior to the 2018 draft. He ended up staying in Dallas, but it showed that the team is looking.
One name that is out there is Rashaan Evans, whom they also had interest in that same year. He put up 159 tackles last season for the Atlanta Falcons with two sacks, a forced fumble, and four passes defensed, while logging 1104 snaps.
Bush was confident entering his final season on his rookie contract that he would be somewhere in the league in 2023. Could that somewhere still end up being Pittsburgh after the Steelers lost out on Spillane? Unless he gets a better deal somewhere else, they wouldn’t have to promise him much.