5 pending free agents Steelers shouldn’t bother re-signing
By Andrew Falce
Bud Dupree is the perfect example of why a draft prospect needs a few years to develop. While he struggled early in his career, he finally developed a solid pass rushing plan and put his athleticism to good use. While it helps that he plays across from T.J. Watt, he has put on some impressive tape on his own. Add in his stout run-stopping ability and suddenly you have a great edge player.
While the team would love to have him back, his cost will be far too great for them to bear. Even if his market is significantly hurt by his season-ending injury, he should still have a lot of value to a team needing a pass rusher. His floor will be in the bottom teens likely, but if he has to play for that little it will be on a one-year deal. That will mean a team will take on his entire salary as a cap hit as opposed to them being able to spread it out over multiple years.
On top of this, the team saw a lot of positive traits from rookie Alex Highsmith, and he will likely man the other side on defense this year. While it would keep this defense at an elite unit if he could be retained, the odds of that seem slim at best at this point. Dupree will be a hard player to let go of, but the team has done a good job of preparing for his departure last offseason.