Trade Proposal Lands Jets $18 Million LB, Former Top-10 Pick

Devin Bush, Steelers

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush speaking with the media after being drafted.

One man’s trash can often become another man’s treasure.

That typically is the basis of most trades in the NFL. One team no longer values a player in the same way that they originally did which opens the door of opportunity for someone else to claim a reclamation project at a serious discount.

That very premise could be exactly what the New York Jets are thinking of ahead of the 2022 season.

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Low Risk Versus High Reward

The Pittsburgh Steelers declined the fifth-year option of linebacker Devin Bush back on May 2. This means he is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2022.

Steelers analyst and operator of Steelers Depot, Alex Kozora recently explained why Bush won’t be returning to the team next season.

With a rental player hanging in the wind, this could be a perfect opportunity for Jets general manager, Joe Douglas, to strike.

Gang Green has two capable starters in CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams. If they stay healthy the Jets could survive with what they have this season, but a clean bill of health is far from promised.

That could lead the Jets to kick the tires on Bush.

He originally entered the league as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The Steelers are not typically an organization that trades up, but they broke that trend because they saw something special in Bush.

In his rookie campaign, it seemed like the former Michigan product was living up to the hype with a spectacular first season:

  • 109 total tackles
  • Nine tackles for loss
  • Two picks
  • Four pass deflections

Sadly the very next season he tore his ACL and was only able to suit up for five contests. Since that injury, he hasn’t been the same and some other issues on the Steelers’ defense certainly didn’t aid him in 2021.

Right now Bush is viewed as damaged goods and despite the obvious talent, could be had for a mid-rounder.

The Jets could easily flip a 2023 fifth-round draft choice to their AFC rival for the talented linebacker.

It would allow him to get a fresh start and give the Steelers something for a player they’re set to lose for nothing next offseason anyway.

Nothing in the Pantry

Even if the Jets feel good about the Williams and Mosley combination in 2022, in 2023 they don’t have any long-term answers.

Williams is a pending free agent and Mosley based on his contract structure is a likely cut candidate.

That would leave the Jets with zip-and-pip at the linebacker spot which would be troubling, to say the least.

Bush at just 23 years of age (will turn 24 by the start of the 2022 season) still has a bright future, despite a wayward start to his career.

Lance Zierlein of NFL dot com raved about him in his NFL combine profile ahead of the 2019 draft:

“Undersized three-down linebacker with the speed and cover talent to make an easy transition to WILL linebacker as a pro. There will be NFL defenses who pass on Bush due to his lack of size, but his ability to play fast and free as an outside linebacker should supersede those concerns.”

He has elite speed for the position (4.43 40-yard dash) and could be a focal piece for the defense for many years to come.

This is the ultimate definition of low risk (mid-round pick) versus high reward (a potential long-term starter).

If it doesn’t work out then you simply lose out on a fifth-round draft choice that you can make up by trading down in next year’s draft. Although if you hit, you may have just solved your linebacker issues for the next decade.

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