Steelers Bringing Bud Dupree in for Free Agent Visit
The Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting outside linebacker Bud Dupree on a free agent visit, according to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
There has been plenty of connection between Dupree and his former team since his release by the Tennessee Titans last week.
Dupree was officially cut loose by the Titans on March 17, the same team that he left Pittsburgh for on a five-year deal back in 2021. He only made it through two seasons on that pact and had just seven sacks in that same span.
His release was part of a veteran purging from the Titans that included offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, wideout Robert Woods, and linebacker Zach Cunningham. Dupree was due the second-highest base salary on Tennessee’s roster at $17 million.
Health will be a big factor if Bud Dupree is to return to the Steel City, and could be the reason for Dupree’s visit to Pittsburgh, since there is certainly no lack of familiarity between the parties. He dealt with a hip injury early on in Nashville after suffering an ACL tear in his last season with Pittsburgh. The hip issue continued into 2022 when he played in 11 games and also hurt his pectoral muscle.
In December, Dupree reasoned that the hip injury resulted from the knee injury’s effects
“Just coming back from the ACL injury, that puts stress on your body,” he said. “Lots of compensation going on within that time and you develop habits that you normally don’t do. That’s what brought up my recent injuries that I’ve been having.”
The Steelers have been searching for a third outside linebacker since they promoted Alex Highsmith from that role to replace Dupree. They tried Melvin Ingram in that role in 2021, but he demanded a trade citing a lack of playing time. The Steelers traded for Malik Reed before the 2022 season, but he failed to make an impact, despite plenty of chances with an injury to T.J. Watt.
Highsmith said he would welcome a potential reunion with his former teammate.
“If it were to happen, that would definitely be a three-headed monster, for sure,” Highsmith said. “When he was here, my locker was actually right next to his, so that was pretty cool. Him and T.J., both of them were just very helpful in bringing me up my rookie year and just helping me to get better.”
The Steelers current depth behind Highsmith and Watt consists of Jamir Jones, Quincy Roche and Emeke Egbule.
Brendan Howe contributed to this story.