The Steelers have a big decision to make with Bud Dupree, but his estimated market value should scare Pittsburgh out of a long-term extension.
Steelers edge defender Bud Dupree has been at the center of discussion in Pittsburgh this offseason. Coming off an excellent season in which he finished with 68 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, and 4 forced fumbles, Dupree is due for a massive extension.
While Dupree had a good year in 2019, his estimated market value should really scare the Steelers out of giving him a massive new contract extension. According to Spotrac.com, Dupree’s market value is estimated at $16.6 million per season. This would instantly make Dupree the second-highest-paid player on the team next to Ben Roethlisberger, and the 9th highest-paid edge defender in the NFL, according to Over the Cap.
There are several reasons why the Steelers should be hesitant to pay him this much. For starters, Dupree is a ‘one-year-wonder.’ Though he has now played 5 seasons in the NFL, just one of them has turned out to be what Pittsburgh expected from the former 2015 first-round draft choice.
Dupree’s possible extension is also concerning because of some inflated numbers. Yes, he did earn 11.5 sacks, but he did so on a whopping 980 defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus recently called Bud Dupree one of the riskiest free agents of the 2020 offseason. Though he put up respectable numbers this year, he was tied for just 63rd in the NFL in pressure rate (10.1 percent). This doesn’t exactly scream “$16.6 million per year” worthy.
On the other hand, more efficient pass rushers are being projected to make less in free agency. Shaquill Barrett, for example, led the entire NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019. He also earned more pressures, tackles for a loss, and forced fumbles on nearly 100 less defensive snaps.
980 Def. snaps
60.0 Career PFF grade
889 Def. snaps
78.9 Career PFF grade
Dupree’s estimated market value: $16.6m/y
Barrett’s estimated market value: $15.7m/y
Bye-bye Buddy… #Steelers
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) February 6, 2020
Despite all of this, and being just months apart in age, Barrett is still projected to make less money on his second contract than Dupree.
Dupree may have also been the beneficiary of playing along one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive lines in 2019. T.J. Watt was a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Both he and Cameron Heyward earned first-team All-Pro honors last season.
In addition, Stephon Tuitt was utterly dominant in his first 6 games of the season, while Javon Hargrave and Tyson Alualu both graded as top 11 interior defensive linemen last season.
There’s evidence to suggest that that other edge defenders would have been just as successful as Dupree last season, and perhaps even more efficient.
When it’s all said and done, the Steelers are likely to apply the franchise tag to Dupree. However, because of his unreasonably high estimated market value, Pittsburgh should be hesitant to pull the trigger on a long-term extension.