The upcoming offseason will certainly be an interesting one for Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree as he will find out in the coming months what the organization really thinks about his potential long term.
Dupree, the Steelers first round draft pick in 2015, can potentially have his fifth-year option for the 2019 season picked up by the team during the offseason.
One day after the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dupree, who had six sacks and 40 total tackles during the regular season, admitted to wondering if the organization will pick up his option year by the May deadline.
“It’s definitely on my mind,” Dupree said on Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’d love to be here. But if they don’t (execute the option), I’ve just got to deal with it and (eventually) go someplace else. But I’d love to be here my whole career. I grind, they know I grind; I work hard, so I hope everything works out.”
While the amount of that 2019 option-year has yet to be determined, it’s likely going to be just short of $9.5 million for outside linebackers. A fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only when it is exercised, and it becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the league year in the fifth contract year, which in Dupree’s case would be March of 2019. Since the fifth-year option has come into existence the Steelers have exercised it on every eligible player except outside linebacker Jarvis Jones a few years ago.
Should the Steelers ultimately not pick up Dupree’s fifth -year option this offseason it will be a sign that he’s unlikely to be back in 2019 unless he has a monster 2018 season and is issued the franchise or transition tag.
So, how will this ultimately play out for Dupree? The team will likely pick up his fifth-year option a few months from now and hope that he stays healthy during the 2018 regular season while doubling his production. If he doesn’t produce during the 2018 season, the team can always release him prior to the start of the 2019 league year.