Does a Bud Dupree-Steelers Reunion Actually Make Any Sense?
Bud Dupree got released and even garnered some predictions from former teammates to land in Pittsburgh, but regardless of all of that, does it actually make sense for Dupree and the Steelers to hold a reunion?
Well, let’s break this down. By releasing Dupree, the Titans freed up a whopping $17 million on their cap. So, the move overall does not shock anyone. However, in 22 games in the past two seasons, Dupree only has registered seven total sacks in Nashville. Through injuries and some inconsistent play, Dupree only has 50 total pressures in those 11 games as well. That left his pressure rate at its lowest level since 2018 with the Steelers, the year before his first breakout season with Pittsburgh.
With Alex Highsmith’s breakout season and T.J. Watt on the other side, let’s establish something — in order for a Dupree and Steelers reunion, Dupree has to be willing to come somewhat cheaply and take a backup seat as the main rotation guy. This has to be a prerequisite to anything happening on this front.
Could Dupree find a starter spot that might give him a one-year prove-it deal? Absolutely. But there is the fact that the Steelers’ defensive ecosystem has proven to allow him to be productive and it could be a spot where he could up his value the most. Ultimately, Dupree has to bet on himself, but doing so in a rotational role is not the end of the world, especially when the Steelers have been searching for that ace backup for years.
Really, that is the fact here. Dupree could very well have better opportunities to prove his worth, but the schematic fit and want for that veteran guy behind the top two could mesh these two sides together more than anything. I generally tend to lean on the side of this being extremely possible, but then there is the other side to this all.
For one, Dupree is a 30-year-old and is often injured. More than that, this edge rusher class is deep and solid all around. So, in reality, the Steelers could easily look to make this move but only with the factors of a cheap deal and willingness from Dupree in mind. Without those, there are cheap options on the market and a surprisingly deep amount of edge rushers in this class for Pittsburgh to choose from in the middle rounds.
So, how this happens? The market for Dupree is not too overzealous and they can get him at an affordable price, in addition to that, the team can get Dupree at a willingness to join the team as the backup while not expecting those starter reps. If that happens, this pairing makes a lot of sense to both rehab Dupree’s image as an outside linebacker and give the Steelers some much-needed depth.
But if not, make no mistake that both sides are likely to have options that they can embrace. The Steelers can go younger and cheaper via free agency or the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Dupree is still good enough that someone should offer him a starting job and the prove it deal. However, if these two sides come together to mutually agree to the ideas listed above, make no mistake, this is a solid pairing that could prove fruitful.