Devin Bush

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/22/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances (including Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne), players activated from the list remain on IR:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on list: T Le’Raven Clark

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Steelers Won’t Pick Up Fifth-Year Option On LB Devin Bush

The Steelers will not pick up the fifth-year option on linebacker Devin Bush, per Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. That means that Bush will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023.

The normally conservative Steelers made a bold move in the 2019 draft, trading their No. 20 and No. 52 overall selections that year, along with a 2020 third-rounder, to the Broncos in order to acquire Denver’s No. 10 overall pick. Pittsburgh used that choice on Bush, and it had every reason to believe the Michigan product would excel in the middle of its defense for years to come.

Unfortunately, things have not worked out as hoped. Bush started 15 games as a rookie and racked up 109 combined tackles, two picks, and a sack, but he suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 of the 2020 season and has struggled to find his footing this year. Even before the 2021 campaign got underway, it was announced that trade acquisition Joe Schobert would take over the role of defensive signal-caller, as the Steelers wanted Bush to focus on his recovery.

And while Bush has played all but one game this year, his performance has left much to be desired. Pro Football Focus’ metrics consider Bush the fourth-worst linebacker in football among players with enough snaps to qualify, and that ranking generally jibes with the eye test. Bush has struggled in coverage and against the run, and he has not made any progress as a pass rusher. As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, Bush has stayed upbeat and is well-liked, but the organization is becoming increasingly frustrated with his lack of development.

It is certainly possible that, by having a fully healthy offseason and putting his ACL tear further in the rearview mirror, Bush could start to play up to his potential in 2022 and earn a second contract with Pittsburgh. But for now, it stands to reason that the Steelers would not want to commit to a fully-guaranteed $10.5MM salary for 2023 for a player that presently looks more like a liability than an asset.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Lamar, Schobert, Browns

Even after Josh Allen‘s Bills extension, the Ravens and Lamar Jackson are continuing their methodical approach to what will be the biggest contract in franchise history. Although Jackson expressed happiness for Allen landing a $43MM-per-year deal with a record guarantee, the fourth-year Baltimore quarterback said his extension will come in due time. John Harbaugh, who has said Jackson will be extended either this year or next, added (via Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed) that Allen’s deal does not change anything regarding the Ravens’ negotiations with Jackson. Allen’s deal almost certainly will affect Jackson’s, potentially setting up the 2019 MVP to command a Patrick Mahomes-level salary without the 10-year commitment.

The quarterback market catching up to Mahomes’ $45MM AAV so quickly may make things interesting in Kansas City in the coming years, with the 2018 MVP signed through 2031. The bulk of the recent big-ticket quarterback contracts have come before passers’ fourth seasons, so time is running short for the Ravens and their agentless QB to agree on a deal that will allow Jackson to make more than $1.78MM this year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Shortly after trading for Joe Schobert, the Steelers have restructured the veteran linebacker’s contract. Schobert’s 2021 cap number has dropped to $1.74MM, with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeting the move will create nearly $2MM in cap space. The Steelers frequently restructure contracts to create cap space, and the team has a rather critical contract to complete soon. T.J. Watt has gone through with a partial hold-in, staying out of team drills until he lands an extension. The Steelers are not believed to be eyeing a Minkah Fitzpatrick re-up until next year, with the safety under contract through the 2022 season, putting a Watt deal center stage. Watt’s contract is up after 2021.
  • The Steelers are preparing Schobert for a big workload. The former Browns linebacker is slated to start, be Pittsburgh’s dime ‘backer and wear the green dot that signifies he will communicate with coaches pre-snap, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com tweets. Quite the plan for a player who has been with the team less than a week, but Schobert played 99% of his team’s defensive snaps in each of the past two seasons. Pittsburgh’s designs for Schobert will mark a transition for Devin Bush, but Steelers DC Keith Butler said (via The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette; subscription required) the team wants the former first-round pick to focus solely on returning to full strength. Bush is coming back after suffering an ACL tear last October.
  • Grant Delpit‘s comeback continues to hit snags. Completing a return from the Achilles rupture he suffered last August, Delpit injured his hamstring after just nine practice snaps. The Browns safety has since aggravated that hamstring issue and will miss more time, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Delpit was already iffy for Cleveland’s Week 1 game in Kansas City. The LSU product missing the start of the Browns’ season now looks likelier.

Steelers LB Devin Bush Expected To Be Cleared For Training Camp

The Steelers lost one middle linebacker today, but the team got good news on another. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter), linebacker Devin Bush is recovering nicely from his torn ACL and is expected “to be cleared to fully practice right away.”

[RELATED: Steelers LB Vince Williams Announces Retirement]

The former first-round pick tore his ACL in October, limiting him to only five games last season. He had appeared in every Steelers defensive snap up to that point of the season, collecting 26 tackles and one sack. That performance followed a rookie campaign where Bush collected 109 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, and four fumble recoveries, leading to him earning PFWA All-Rookie Team honors.

Bush made a cameo at OTAs, and the hope was that he’d be fully healthy by Week 1. It sounds like he’ll be fully healthy much earlier than that, allowing the 23-year-old to truly prepare for the upcoming campaign. Bush will regain his starting gig in 2021, and he’ll presumably start alongside Robert Spillane.

The Steelers learned earlier today that veteran linebacker Vince Williams was calling it a career. The 31-year-old was expected to play a significant role behind both Bush and Spillane.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers’ Devin Bush Has Torn ACL

The Steelers picked up a dominant 38-7 win over the Browns on Sunday, but they didn’t escape the rivalry game unscathed. Linebacker Devin Bush indeed tore his ACL and will be done for the season, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Bush started 15 games as a rookie last year and every game so far this season, so it’s a huge loss. In fact, the tenth overall pick of last year’s draft had played every snap this season before going down. Pittsburgh’s defense has been the driving force behind their perfect 5-0 start, and it won’t be easy to replace him. Robert Spillane, a 2018 UDFA who plays almost entirely on special teams, filled in after Bush got hurt.

The Steelers were allowing only 3.3 yards per carry, the second best figure in the league, entering Sunday. They completely shutdown Kareem Hunt and Cleveland’s vaunted rushing attack, but slowing down opponent ground games will be a lot more difficult without Bush in the middle of the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LB Notes: Broncos, Burfict, Jets, Judon

As we wind down the final week of the 2019 offseason, let’s look at a few of the league’s linebacker situations. The Broncos are one of the two teams opening training camp next week, joining the Falcons, and they’ve had a quietly interesting year at this spot.

  • Denver passed on adding an inside linebacker to replace five-year starter Brandon Marshall, but the report of the team being ready to make a major investment at this spot was accurate. Not only did the Broncos plan to select Devin Bush at No. 10 overall, they wrote the Michigan linebacker’s name on a first-round card, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Broncos VP of player personnel Matt Russell told draft rep Derrick Thomas to write Bush’s name on their card but instructed him not to turn it in, Klis adds. They ended up trading the pick, which became Bush, to the Steelers for additional draft capital.
  • The Broncos plan to use Todd Davis and 2018 fourth-rounder Josey Jewell as their starting inside ‘backers, and while that may leave the team vulnerable in coverage, the coaching staff has hatched an idea to help combat that. Denver drafted Oregon edge rusher Justin Hollins in the fifth round, and instead of hoping he becomes strictly an off-the-bench pass rusher, the Broncos plan to deploy the four-year Duck as a base-set outside ‘backer and an inside player in nickel packages, Klis writes. Hollins ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, leading the team to see if he can be a solution to its problems covering tight ends in recent years.
  • Marshall and Vontaze Burfict will add veteran presences to the Raiders’ long-understaffed linebacking corps, and DC Paul Guenther said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) Burfict’s arrival will free him up to utilize more of his playbook than he did last season. Burfict’s issues will not lie with the former Bengals DC’s playbook but rather staying on the field, which has proved to be a persistent issue for the talented player in his six-year career.
  • Avery Williamson will slide to the Jets‘ weakside linebacker spot to accommodate C.J. Mosley, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. The market-shattering free agent addition will become Gang Green’s defensive play-caller, though both are set to be three-down ‘backers in Gregg Williams‘ defense. In his previous Jets role, Williamson totaled a career-high 120 tackles and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 traditional linebacker last season.
  • The contract Ravens outside ‘backer Matt Judon will likely focus on most in terms of establishing his value is likely Za’Darius Smith‘s Packers deal, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Judon’s 19 sacks in three seasons are more than Smith’s 18.5-sack total in four, the the latter parlayed his impressive contract year into a four-year, $66MM deal. It is not yet known if the Ravens and Judon have begun extension discussions, but both he and third-year inside linebacker starter Patrick Onwuasor are due for 2020 free agency.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Sign Devin Bush

The Steelers made an uncharacteristically aggressive jump in the first round of last month’s draft, trading up from No. 20 to No. 10 to select Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. Today, they signed Bush to his rookie contract, as Pro Football Talk reports (via Twitter). It will be a four-year, $18.8MM deal (all guaranteed), with a fifth-year option for 2023.

In addition to their No. 20 overall selection, Pittsburgh shipped the No. 52 overall pick in the 2019 draft plus a 2020 third-rounder to Denver. But Bush’s talent could more than justify that type of gamble, as he will immediately slide into the Steelers’ starting lineup as an inside ‘backer.

Bush is a three-down player who has shown an ability to thrive in both man-to-man and zone coverage, and he also flashed some pass-rushing prowess during his tenure at Michigan. He finished his final collegiate season with 41 tackles (8.5 for loss) and 4.5 sacks.

The Steelers have found it difficult to replace Ryan Shazier‘s presence in the middle of their front seven since Shazier’s devastating injury towards the end of the 2017 campaign, and Bush should be able to replicate, or even exceed, Shazier’s production. He doesn’t turn 21 until July 18, and Pittsburgh has every reason to believe it may have found the next great Steel City defender.

With Bush’s signing, third-round CB Justin Layne is the only member of the Steelers’ nine-man draft class who has yet to ink his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Raiders, Broncos, Hardman

During the hours leading up to the draft’s second night, the Jets were calling teams — the Seahawks, Colts and others — about trading way up into the second round. That did not end up happening. The Jets, who traded their Round 2 pick to the Colts last year for the right to move up to draft Sam Darnold, made the calls because of a desire to add one of the high-end cornerbacks available to start Day 2, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Gang Green sought to jump into the top five of the second round, per Mehta, but they could not come to terms on a deal. Such a jump — from No. 68 into the 30s — would have required a significant draft capital subtraction. The Jets also had a deal with the Eagles to make a less costly move — up to No. 57 — to draft Mecole Hardman, but the Chiefs beat them to it. Corners Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, Sean Bunting and Trayvon Mullen all went off the board in the first eight picks Friday.

At corner, the Jets have 2018 free agent signing Trumaine Johnson and 2019 addition Brian Poole. As of now, they may be asking Darryl Roberts to be a starter. With no draft picks spent on the position, the Jets may still be on the lookout for help here.

Here is the latest post-draft news from the AFC:

  • The Raiders hoped to trade down from their No. 4 slot, but no calls came, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Just about every high-end prospect was connected to the Raiders during the pre-draft process, but the team instead went with what most perceived as a bit of a reach in Clelin Ferrell. However, taking the Clemson talent at No. 4 was the team’s backup plan.
  • Joe Flacco‘s work in the early days of the Broncos‘ offseason program dissuaded John Elway from selecting a quarterback at No. 10 overall, something many mock drafts had the Broncos doing. “What made that decision is, Joe is fitting really well with what we want to do offensively, and he looked great in our minicamp last week,” Elway said Thursday, via King. “He really put on a throwing exhibition last week in camp. I truly think we’ve got a guy coming into his prime.” Of course, less than 24 hours later, Drew Lock was a Bronco. Both King and SI.com’s Albert Breer report the Mizzou prospect was the top passer on Denver’s board, with Breer adding that Elway continually brought up Lock in pre-draft meetings, pointing further to the potential value investment at No. 42.
  • As for what would have happened if the Broncos did not receive a strong Steelers offer for No. 10? Denver would have a new starting inside linebacker, with King writing the Broncos would have taken Devin Bush and addressed their offensive needs later.
  • While the Chiefs‘ Hardman pick looks like a Tyreek Hill emergency replacement, and was chosen three rounds ahead of when the polarizing star was taken three years ago, the team views the Georgia speedster as a cross between Hill and gadget-type weapon De’Anthony Thomas — both in terms of role and talent, Breer writes.
  • Of their six 2019 picks, the Jets used one on an offensive lineman — third-round tackle Chuma Edoga. Gang Green entered free agency with plenty of needs up front. While All-Pro Kelechi Osemele is now slotted in as one of the Jets’ first-string guards, Tom Compton represented the team’s only other veteran addition. Although, Jonotthan Harrison re-signed and appears to be a firm option to start, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. The Jets were eyeing interior lineman Connor McGovern in Round 3, per Vacchiano, but the Cowboys beat them to him. As of now, Harrison — a career part-time starter with the Colts who ended last season as the Jets’ top center — is first in line to snap.