I know that everybody waits with baited breath for Pro Football Talk’s actual football opinions. Never fear, your oxygen is here, in the form of PFT’s list of the top 100 free agents for 2020. The article was posted not by Mike Florio but Charean Williams, who frankly has a bit more respectability.
Two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the list, and you already know who they are. They’re not Artie Burns and Sean Davis, nor Nick Vannett. Not B.J. Finney, either. One they expect to keep around, the other one seems like a lost cause due to the inevitable price.
Outside linebacker Bud Dupree checks in on the list at 28. He is coming off a career year in his fifth season, registering 11.5 sacks with four forced fumbles and two recoveries, with 63 tackles and 16 tackles for loss. All of these numbers across the board represent the best in his career.
A former first-round draft pick in 2015, Dupree put up underwhelming numbers in his first four seasons, in part due to injuries, before producing the sort of statistics that will get him paid in free agency. The Steelers have made it pretty clear that they very much expect to have him under contract—for 2020.
They are less confident that they will be able to work out terms on a long-term deal, but they will have several months to work on that. By the time the new league year begins, it’s likely that he will be given the franchise tag, which will give them the opportunity to negotiate through the middle of July or thereabouts.
As you’ll already know, the next and final Steeler on the list is Javon Hargrave, a four-year veteran and former third-round draft pick in 2016. The defensive tackle has been a pretty big part of the Steelers’ defense over the course of the past two years given his position in a 3-4 that plays base nickel.
Hargrave, who has over 10 sacks in the past two years, checks in at number 34 on PFT’s list. He is expected to earn $10 million per year or more on the open market, which quite clearly is not something Pittsburgh can afford to pay him, especially since that’s already what the team is paying to Cameron Heyward, a first-team All-Pro, and Stephon Tuitt.
It’s unfortunate in a sense that Burns and/or at least Davis are not in this list. It would be going too far to say that Davis, a 2016 second-round pick, was a bust. After all, he was a starter up until his injury last season, and then the team replaced him via trade knowing that he would be a free agent after the year was over anyway. Now they don’t have to worry about his position.