Not everybody thinks that Bud Dupree is the greatest player in the world, to be certain. After all, it’s not as though the fifth-year Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker suddenly made the Pro Bowl in 2019 or anything.
But he did have a very strong season all the same, especially when judged by his own prior history, including career-highs almost across the board with 11.5 sacks, 68 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and two fumbles recovered.
He did that while playing under his fifth-year option, meaning that as of right now, he is scheduled to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent in March. The Steelers can sign him to a contract before then or place a tag of one kind or another on him to prevent that from happening, but that is where we currently stand.
You can count Pro Football Focus as among those who are not impressed with his body of work this past season, however. While they certainly don’t discredit what he has done, they do point out his relatively low pressure rate and caution against paying top-dollar for him on the open market.
Yet they did not even list him among the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents for 2020, which does feel like something of a slap in the face. How can you be an edge rusher who puts up double-digit sacks and yet not even crack the top 50 free agents? Pass-rushers are hard to come by.
Of course, the site’s list is not geared toward indicating which free agents will be the most coveted, or sign for the most money. These are, in their evaluation, the best players, regardless of what their market value or demand may suggest. Again, in their evaluation. They can and have been wrong.
Overall, in fact, there are not a done of edge players on the list, as least in my opinion. The top-valued edge defender on their list is Jadeveon Clowney of the Seattle Seahawks, who is ranked seventh on the list. Then you have Shaquil Barrett and Yannick Ngakoue going back to back at 17 and 18. Arik Armstead is 20, while Kyle Van Noy is 33, and finally, Robert Quinn is 46. And Armstead and Van Noy may not be regarded as pure edge players.
For such a premium position, it does feel a bit underrepresented on this list, but again, the list is meant to represent the players whom they view as the best available, irrespective of position. Still, I would imagine that when other outlets begin compiling similar lists, Dupree will be on them. Javon Hargrave, at least, is represented at 25.