Steelers could come knocking for Bud Dupree after Titans make his release official

Steelers, Bud Dupree
Steelers, Bud Dupree / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

When the Tennessee Titans signed Bud Dupree to a five-year, $82.5 million contract during the 2021 offseason, I immediately knew that his contract would prove to be one they would regret. Though Dupree was a solid player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he didn't deserve such a lucrative contract.

Now that deal has come back to bite the Titans in the butt. Just two years into the five-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Tennessee is expected to release one of their most expensive players.

Dupree was set to have a substantial cap number of $20.2 million this year. While the Titans would save $9.35 million instantly, they will take a massive dead money hit of $10.85 million with this decision as Dupree still has guaranteed money left on his deal, according to Over the Cap.

Dupree struggled to stay healthy as he managed to see the field for just 22 of a possible 34 games over the past two seasons for Tennessee. However, when he was present, the results were certainly less than spectacular. Dupree earned just 7.0 sacks and 8 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons while forcing just two fumbles, per ESPN stats.

Steelers could kick the tires on Bud Dupree

Though Dupree didn't have much success at all with the Titans, the former Steeler did make a living from his performance in Pittsburgh. Much of this probably had to do with the 'T.J. Watt factor,' and the fact that he played in a very favorable situation with a talented defensive line around him. Still, some impressive talent in Tennessee didn't seem to help.

There's a reason a player like Dupree is hitting the market right now. Over each of the past two seasons, the former 2015 first-round pick has failed to rank above 90th in overall grade among NFL edge defenders, via Pro Football Focus.

While Dupree should no longer be considered a quality starter, it's possible that the market for him could be pretty thin. But the fact that the Steelers were able to get solid production out of him potentially makes them one of the top suitors.

Pittsburgh desperately needs to upgrade its edge depth and T.J. Watt has one of the biggest contracts among all defensive players in the NFL. Next year, it's possible that the Steelers could lose Alex Highsmith in free agency, and they need to have a contingency plan. While Highsmith is certainly a better player than Dupree at this point, having a quality fall-back plan who has performed well in this scheme wouldn't be a bad idea.

Obviously, the Steelers can't afford to overpay for a rotational edge defender, but this is still an important role on the team. Last year, Pittsburgh got themselves in a bind by not having a serviceable edge rusher who could step in when Watt went down with an injury. Adding Dupree would certainly help improve their depth.

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It's hard to say what the market is going to look like for Bud Dupree as he is 30 years old and is going on three years removed from a productive season. It wouldn't hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick the tires on a former player who could make the smooth transition back on their defense.