Bud Dupree is in Pittsburgh; Steelers reunion could be on the horizon
By Tommy Jaggi
Who could have seen this coming? The moment we heard the report that Bud Dupree would be released by the Tennessee Titans at the start of the new league year, we knew that he would be on the Steelers radar and that a return to Pittsburgh was very possible.
Over the past few weeks, things have been pretty quiet concerning Dupree, and many speculated that his injury history has teams questioning a potential signing. However, on March 30th, we learned that Dupree is in Pittsburgh.
Coincidence? I think not. The Pittsburgh Steelers just so happen to have a serious need for edge defender depth. Though T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith obviously make a great pairing, there isn't a name on the roster worth mentioning beyond these two.
Steelers could sign Bud Dupree soon
Despite the fact that Bud Dupree is coming off a whopping five-year, $82.5 million contract, this signing still seems likely. Because of injuries and unspectacular play over the past two seasons in Tennessee, Dupree won't see a fraction of the money he did on his previous deal (one that I thought was insane at the time).
Dupree is now 30 years old and he hasn't suited up for more than 11 games in a season since 2019, per ESPN stats. This means that the Steelers need to be very cautious about a potential return and vet his medicals thoroughly (something they have failed to do in past roster moves).
If cleared, I don't see any issue with adding Bud Dupree as the team's third edge rusher. Just make sure you temper expectations. While Dupree has had some past production with the Steelers -- including an 11.5-sack season back in 2019 -- he is years removed from being that player.
Not only is Dupree not going to be pushing for a starting role, but he also may not even be the third-best edge defender on the team if the Steelers happened to take one on day two of the 2023 NFL Draft. The bad thing is that Dupree does not play special teams, so he doesn't add any value in this regard.
Still, Dupree should be a significant upgrade over what Pittsburgh had in Malik Reed last year (though that's not saying much). If signed, I think Bud Dupree could be a serviceable backup at this stage of his career with his extensive injury history, but probably not much more.