MARCH 22: Bush’s one-year deal is worth $3.5MM, per ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). The former top-10 pick will receive the bulk of the money ($2.99MM) guaranteed.
MARCH 17: The Seahawks hosted a few players on free agency visits Thursday. Devin Bush stood out to the team, and the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta reports the veteran linebacker agreed to a deal.
A former top-10 Steelers draftee, Bush joined Julian Love and Lonnie Johnson on Seattle visits. GM John Schneider had recently said the inside linebacker position was an area of concern for the team, and Bush will be en route to help address it. This late-night agreement is a one-year pact, per Condotta.
Although Bush started 48 games during his Steelers rookie-contract years, this agreement will double as a flier. Pittsburgh reduced the former No. 10 overall pick’s playing time last season and revamped its inside linebacker group this week. Bush will also join a team that has seen some movement at the position. Seahawks 2022 starter Cody Barton signed with the Commanders.
The Steelers held high hopes for Bush. They traded up 10 spots with the Broncos, who drafted current Seahawks tight end Noah Fant at No. 20, in 2019. That move marked the first time Pittsburgh had moved up in Round 1 since selecting Troy Polamalu in 2003. Bush racked up stats as a rookie (109 tackles, nine TFLs, two INTs, four fumbles recoveries) but saw a 2020 ACL tear blunt his momentum. Over the past two years, the Michigan product ended up playing his way out of Pittsburgh.
Pro Football Focus graded Bush as a bottom-tier linebacker in 2021, as he struggled to return to form. While the advanced metrics site ranked the young defender just outside the top 50 at linebacker last season, the Steelers used him on career-low 62% of their defensive snaps. The team did not pick up Bush’s fifth-year option in 2022, sending him to this year’s market.
But Bush, he of a 4.43-second 40-yard dash time back in 2019, does not turn 25 until this summer and could become an important cog for the 2023 Seahawks. Barton is gone, and top linebacker Jordyn Brooks is recovering from an ACL tear sustained in January. The former first-round pick will be a candidate to the start the season on the reserve/PUP list.
The Seahawks have also been linked to a reunion with Bobby Wagner. The recent Rams cap casualty should still be expected to reside on the radar for a Seattle return, Condotta adds. Schneider and Pete Carroll have spoken with Wagner about a possible return, despite the team releasing him on the same day it traded Russell Wilson last year. Wagner asked for his Rams release, seeking to join a team in better position to contend in 2023. Despite the NFC West rivals’ statuses going into last season, the Seahawks suddenly look to be in a better contention spot. If Brooks is not back to start the season, the Seahawks will almost definitely need to make another starter-level linebacker addition.