Ranking Steelers biggest offseason losses so far in 2021

Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48). Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Bud Dupree

I think Bud Dupree is going to be the biggest loss for the Steelers this offseason. This has nothing to do with my opinion of Alex Highsmith, but rather the value of the position. Highsmith was better than could have been expected when called upon last year after Dupree went down with a season-ending ACL tear. However, the Steelers value edge defender as much as any team in the league, and filling Dupree’s shoes won’t be easy.

Though Dupree never developed into an elite NFL edge defender, Pittsburgh certainly got their value’s worth out of him, and he has been impressive and productive over the past two seasons. While Highsmith will have a solid chance to fill his old role, we know that the Steelers are going to need more than two good outside linebackers to get the job done.

If either Highsmith or T.J. Watt were to go down with an injury next season, there is literally nobody on the roster we should trust to come in and play above replacement level. Pittsburgh will probably make it a priority to help fill the void early in the NFL Draft, but athletes like Dupree don’t come around every day, and teams are typically forced to pick them very high. Dupree was a great compliment to Watt on the edge and he will be missed.

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The Steelers certainly lost more than they gained this offseason, and we knew this would be the case with the way the salary cap worked out. This doesn’t mean that Pittsburgh can’t be competitive in 2021, but losing these four players could hurt their chances a bit next season.