The Steelers are a team that likes to stick to their guns, but here’s why they should have gone with edge defender Jadeveon Clowney over Bud Dupree.
If you were following the Steelers closely this offseason, you know that giving the fifth-year option to edge defender, Bud Dupree, was not something that caught us off guard. Mike Tomlin made it a point in his first interview after the season to say that getting a deal done with Dupree was a “priority”.
So far, Pittsburgh has not been able to come to terms on a contract extension with the former 2015 first-round draft choice and there are several reasons why that isn’t going to happen.
For starters, T.J. Watt is entering the last year of his rookie deal he signed in 2017. Though the Steelers will undoubtedly give him the fifth-year option, his extension could make him the highest-paid edge defender in the NFL as early as next season.
In addition, the Steelers have just 38 players under contract next year, according to Over the Cap, and many key contributors are set to hit the market. With players like Cameron Heyward and JuJu Smith-Schuster among the list of 18 names with expiring contracts after 2020, an extension for Dupree will not get done.
Why do I bring this up? Because the Steelers might have jumped the gun on locking up Dupree for the 2020 season. Though we couldn’t have predicted how the COVID-19 pandemic would have effected teams financially, Pittsburgh may have been able to land Jadeveon Clowney potentially even cheaper than Dupree’s $15.8 million he is set to receive this year.
Though Clowney’s market value is listed at $17.1 million per year on a new deal, according to Spotrac.com, it’s unlikely the former first overall pick will receive that much on a new contract. In fact, experts are suggesting he may go for significantly less:
Though Clowney has never been a sack machine, he’s dealt with a lot of injuries that have held him back and he has been constantly double-teamed throughout his career due to his unfair combination of strength and length.
While Dupree proved to be a solid option across from T.J. Watt last season, pairing Clowney with Watt would be an otherworldly combination, and would likely skyrocket Pittsburgh to the clear-cut number one defensive front in the league.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the Steelers would have been able to obtain Clowney’s services this year. But while giving the fifth-year option to Dupree may have been the safe choice, the prospect of landing a talent like Clowney for a potentially cheaper deal than Dupree leaves me frustrated.
Even if Clowney only signed a one-year deal in Pittsburgh, the Steelers would no-doubt earn a high compensatory pick for him leaving in free agency the following season.
Signing Jadeveon Clowney is a move that was never realistically on the table for the Steelers, but it’s still hard to believe he’s lasted this long on the open market. Whichever team ends up with him is getting a good one.