Though far from gospel, one of the top Pittsburgh Steelers’ beat writers doesn’t believe the team will place the fifth year option on outside linebacker Bud Dupree. In one of his Steelers’ chats yesterday, Ed Bouchette was asked if the team will exercise Dupree’s option season. His response?
“Significant question for you Ed. Do the Steelers commit to the 5th year for Dupree? What say you? Yea or Nay?
Ed Bouchette: I would guess no”
Later in the chat, when asked if there was still faith in Dupree, Bouchette said there was more “hope” than there was actual faith. Dupree is one of the most polarizing Steelers on this defense. Drafted for his freakish athleticism and ability to get to the quarterback, he hasn’t lived up to expectations. While he did record six sacks in 2017, Dave Bryan recently broke them down and showed it was hard to find any that reached “high quality” status.
Through three seasons with the team, he’s recorded 14.5 sacks. Certainly not a terrible number but one, especially watching his play, has left Steelers’ fans wanting more. Injuries have played a factor but that can only be an excuse for so long. With the team blitzing and rushing five less than any time in recent history, the onus is on the defensive line and the outside linebackers to get home.
Dupree is entering the final year of his contract, though the team can use a 5th year option to extend that deal that all first round picks get. The deadline for the Steelers to do so is May 3rd. Jarvis Jones did not receive an option last May and was allowed to hit free agency.
As a reminder, the 5th year option is only binding for injury. The Steelers, in theory, could apply the option this season and then cut him next offseason without any sort of dead money. To me, that makes it a good idea to apply the option should Dupree’s game improve to the level it needs to be. If it doesn’t, then he can just be released. The option will allow for that flexibility.
While Bouchette isn’t reporting it with a source, he’s about as plugged in as any Steelers’ beat writer and I am assuming has some feel for what direction the team is heading in with him. The draft should certainly be interesting to watch. There are other needs on this defense, inside linebacker and free safety top the list, but an EDGE rusher could be a position they invest in again. If it’s a high pick, it could spell even greater trouble for Dupree’s future.