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Colbert: Steelers Undecided on 5th-Yr Option for Devin Bush



Steelers LB Devin Bush
Ed Thompson, Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have not yet decided whether to exercise their fifth-year option on the contract of inside linebacker Devin Bush, general manager Kevin Colbert said on Monday.

Players that are drafted in the first round like Bush are signed to four-year rookie contracts that come with an automatic team option for a fifth season. The value of that option year is determined by a player’s playing time, Pro Bowl selections, and the cost of the third through 25th highest salaries in the NFL at their position.

For Bush, that will work out to a $10.547 million salary for 2023, according to Over The Cap.

The Steelers could have made a decision to exercise their option on Bush already, as the window to do so opened in December, but they still have time to make a decision. The deadline to make the call on Bush’s 2023 option is not until May 2.

“We’ll go through all the scenarios,” Colbert said Monday. “Devin Bush, I think will be a better player in 2022. … We haven’t decided.”

Bush had a disappointing 2021 after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2020. Bush finished this past season with 70 tackles, two for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four passes defended. In his only other full season as a rookie in 2019, Bush had 109 tackles, nine for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries and four passes defended.

That downward trajectory and the over $10 million price tag might make Bell’s option a difficult one for the Steelers to pick up. analyst Mark Ross suggested that the Steelers should not.

“Bush hasn’t been able to consistently impact Pittsburgh’s defense like others in the unit have,” Ross wrote. “As a top-10 pick, he’s expected to do just that.”

The Steelers can choose to negotiate a contract extension with Bell that could be for more or less money, and be any number of years. They can also continue to negotiate with Bell after the deadline through the rest of the 2022 offseason and all the way up until he would hit free agency in 2023, so declining the option would not seal 2022 as Bell’s final season in Pittsburgh.

If the Steelers do take Bell’s option, that money would be fully guaranteed.

The Steelers declined Terrell Edmunds’ option for the 2021 season and he is set to hit free agency this March. Minkah Fitzpatrick is currently scheduled to play out this season under his option.

Former Steelers first round pick to have their options exercised include Cam Heyward, Ryan Shazier, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns had theirs declined. David DeCastro signed a long-term contract before his option season came up.

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