With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: ILB Devin Bush
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: The former top-10 draft pick signed a reported one-year, $4 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks after a tumultuous four-year stint in Pittsburgh. That should prove adequate enough to qualify for compensatory consideration at the seventh-round level, though I will explain why caution is in order in that regard.
While not perhaps a king’s ransom, the Steelers surely paid a price they were somewhat reluctant to pay even in 2019 for Devin Bush. The Denver Broncos were prepared to draft him 10th overall, having even written his name down on the card they were to submit to the league, when general manager Kevin Colbert phoned them and said the Steelers would pull the trigger on the deal they previously discussed.
The terms were the 10th-overall pick in exchange for the Steelers’ 20th-overall selection, in addition to their second-round choice that year and a third-round pick in 2020. Had Bush actually panned out, it would have been a reasonable price to pay.
As evidenced by the fact that he signed a one-year, $4 million contract going into year five, and with another team, no less, it’s fair to say that’s not exactly how it happened. A torn ACL in 2020 unquestionably did him no favors but can’t wholly account for his struggles over the past two years.
The Steelers have had two-first-round picks come up for their fifth-year option since the latest CBA made that fifth year fully guaranteed when exercised rather than at the start of the new league year. Neither of those players (Terrell Edmunds and Bush) had their option picked up. Will Najee Harris? Or Kenny Pickett?
Well, that’s neither here nor there at the moment except to say that the Steelers need more hits, starting next month. The failure of Bush set the team back, no doubt, not just in his own struggles but in the loss of resources that it took to bring him in.
He only played 10 defensive snaps in final two games of the 2022 season, games the Steelers were going all out to win in the hopes that they would earn a postseason berth. They decided that would be the time to break in rookie seventh-round pick Mark Robinson, who not long ago was a running back.
Welcome to Seattle. Enjoy a cup of coffee; you may have just enough time there for one.