Amongst the Antonio Brown trade rumors, NFL Draft predictions and free agency concerns, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a pressing burden they need to decide on.
Bud Dupree’s 20 sacks in four years has been a major disappointment for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former first-round pick had high expectations as a speedy edge rusher out of Kentucky. But since joining the league, Durpee has slowly progressed, taking more time than necessary to develop into his potential.
Now, the Steelers have a decision to make. Last season, they signed his fifth-year option with hopes 2018 would be his breakout season. But after 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks, Dupree proved once again he’s not worth his $9.232 million option in 2019.
Leaving Pittsburgh with a decisions to make. Durpee’s option could be retracted and the Steelers could try to restructure his contract to keep him on the roster. He won’t earn $9 million anywhere in the NFL, leaving Pittsburgh with the upper-hand in negotiations.
They also need to game plan what the outside linebacker’s role will be moving forward. The Steelers should be considering an edge rusher in the 2019 NFL Draft. An abundance of talent at the position makes a replacement very possible, but it doesn’t mean they want to remove Dupree all together.
Anthony Chickillo’s tenure in Pittsburgh is likely over. Ola Odeniyi showed plenty of potential in his rookie season but after missing most of the year with injury, we aren’t too sure how his preseason showing is going to transfer to the regular season.
Therefore, keeping Dupree to work with the rookie, if there’s a rookie, makes sense for the Steelers. A reliable veteran off the bench who can play at a productive speed for a role player, Dupree would fit the role perfectly.
The role Pittsburgh plans to see Dupree play in 2019 will have a major impact on the money they’re willing to pay him. His option is likely to be pulled, meaning there’s another decision to be made by the Steelers.