Several weeks ago at the annual league meetings, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert indicated that he was still unsure if the team would pick up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Bud Dupree by the May 3 deadline. On Monday, the Steelers finally announced that they had decided to pick up Dupree’s fifth-year option for the 2019 season and not long after that announcement was made, Colbert addressed the decision during the team’s annual pre-draft press conference.
“As you were made aware of earlier this morning, we exercised the fifth-year option on Bud Dupree,” Colbert said Monday afternoon. “We’re excited about where Bud can be in these next two years and we had no hesitation in making that move when we did it.”
Dupree, as you can probably imagine, was glad to hear that the Steelers decided to pick up his fifth-year option as the former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky is now reportedly scheduled to earn $9.232 million in 2019.
“It’s good news,” said Dupree, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “I get another two years with my teammates, which will be fun. It’s two more chances to win the Super Bowl. It’s a great time.”
The Steelers haven’t seemed to be too interested in edge-rushers during this offseason’s pre-draft process but even so, Colbert said Monday that the team has not ruled out drafting any specific position this year and specifically not in the first round.
“We haven’t eliminated any position this year,” Colbert said.
While neither Colbert nor head coach Mike Tomlin talked about any specific players during their annual pre-draft press conference, the latter did talk some about the evaluation process of the outside linebacker-edge-rusher position.
“It’s not anything new going into this 2018 draft relative to the identification of outside linebackers that are capable of being edge rushers in passing situation,” Tomlin explained. “So, there’s nothing new on the docket from our perspective as we prepare. What is interesting is to see the specialization of the edge-rushers in college football. The outside linebackers, who exclusively rush the passer in the ways that NFL outside linebackers do. There’s more evidence of that.”
Tomlin also talked briefly about the decision to pick up Dupree’s fifth-year option.
“We’re excited about what Bud is going to do for us in ‘18 and ’19,” said Tomlin. “I’m comfortable he’s going to meet the challenge.”