Player: Bud Dupree
Position: Outside Linebacker
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2019 Salary Cap Hit: $9,232,000
2019 Season Breakdown:
It was a career year for Bud Dupree, but also not a spectacular one by any means. The 2015 first-round pick did not add ‘Pro Bowler’ to his resume or anything like that, but he did establish himself as somebody who can be an everyday starter for a championship-caliber defense.
Dupree entered the 2019 season with 20 sacks in his first four seasons combined. The most he had ever had in a single season was six. He recorded 11.5 last year, and in general, while he didn’t necessarily improve upon his total number of pressures, he did improve upon the quality of his pressures, both in result and in process, winning more against tackles, for example, and with a wider variety of moves.
Notable also is the fact that his run defense was very good. He was a very active player, recording 68 tackles on the season, for example, more than T.J. Watt, and with 16 tackles for loss. Perhaps the most significant thing is that he recorded four forced fumbles on the year, more than doubling his previous career total, while recovering two of them for himself.
Dupree was an underachiever over the course of his first four seasons in the NFL, though it has to be acknowledged that he was drafted as a player whom the Steelers knew it would require a time investment to get him coached up. Not only did he have a natural learning curve breaking into the league, he had also been slowed by injuries through most of his career up until this point.
Free Agency Outlook:
From the sounds of it, and for better or worse, it sounds as though the Steelers have every intention of keeping Dupree in a Steelers uniform for the 2020 season, though it’s not clear where things stand beyond that.
Most recent to comment was Kevin Colbert, who made it clear that the Steelers will not hesitate to employ the franchise tag or another tag if it becomes necessary, but at the same time they also intend to use all the time they have before then to try to work out a long-term extension.
One thing to consider is the fact that Watt will also have to be paid, and it wouldn’t be a shock if he gets extended this year. It would be a surprise, however, as the Steelers have never done that with a player who has a fifth-year option before. None of them had previously been a first-team All-Pro by their third year either, however.
There appears to be no reason currently to believe Dupree will be in a uniform other than the Steelers’ in 2020. The only thing that really seems to be in question is whether that comes under the franchise tag or under a long-term contract.