4 scenarios of how the Steelers could replace Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews Los Angeles Rams Vs Arizona Cardinals 2019 /

Option 3: Clay Matthews

If anything could help solve the Steelers short term problem of losing an edge pass rusher like Bud Dupree, help keep the Steelers undefeated, and give them a boost to upend the Chiefs in the playoffs, then perhaps the Rooneys should give Clay Matthews a call. No, not the Clay Matthews that played 16 years as a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns.  You want Clay Matthews III, who played ten years for the Packers.

This scenario actually makes a lot of sense. He’s 6’3”, 225 pounds. Yes, at 34, he is up there in age, but he is not too old to not get a few more miles out of the tank. Plus, if the Steelers sign him, they are not looking for a long term deal, perhaps the remainder of this season and possibly 2021. What more could you ask for in a free agent, a six-time pro-bowler, and a one-time all-pro. Over 11 years, he has 91.5 sacks, 383 solo tackles, 519 combined tackles, six interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one touchdown. Someone like that could surely help the Steelers remain undefeated for the remainder of the season. Plus, they could use that experience when they play the Chiefs.

The positive to signing Matthews is that it gives Highsmith more time to develop as Dupree’s eventual replacement in 2021 or 2022, depending on Matthews’s contract length.  Then it gives the Steelers a chance to address their running back issue or resign JuJu Smith-Schuster without breaking the bank, allowing them to remain competitive next year.

Now the downside. As great as signing Matthews would be for Pittsburgh, the question becomes how much the Steelers would have to pay to get him. Obviously, the Steelers are not going to give Matthews a blank check. That is just not their style. On the surface, it would seem that the chance for another Superbowl ring would be enough to entice Matthews to sign with the Steelers, even if for just the remainder of this season.

Of course, the Broncos tried to sign Matthews earlier in the season when Von Miller injured his ankle. That situation spiraled out of control quickly, though. Initially, the Broncos indicated Matthews had said no, he would not play. Matthews agent refuted that by saying he would if the situation was right. Regardless they could not reach a deal. Perhaps Matthews did not want to play for a team headed nowhere, as Denver is 4-7 right now. Possibly it could have been economics. The Rams still owed Matthews $2million despite cutting him. As a result, that bonus owed by the Rams came into play. If another team did not pay him at least $2million, he would have been playing for free essentially. For example, if he had signed with the Broncos for $4 million he would only get $2 million as the Rams’ bonus offsets what he earns elsewhere, which means the Broncos probably only wanted to pay no more than $2 million. Of course, the Steelers are not the Broncos, and they have a legitimate shot at winning everything this year, despite injuries to their linebackers. Perhaps this could be the situation Matthews hoped to find.

While it seems unlikely, it’s possible the Steelers may, quietly if anything else, at least consider him. Whether the Steelers can afford to sign him is another matter. If they don’t, someone else may, especially if another contender loses a linebacker.

So if the Steelers opt not to sign Clay Matthews, then let’s look at the last option open the Steelers.