The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers should be open to trade offers if they tag Bud Dupree.
Explanation: The Steelers sound committed to keeping Bud Dupree under contract for 2020, making it pretty clear that they will use the franchise tag if they have to. As we have seen in recent years, however, that doesn’t guarantee that player will stay put, and the team has seemingly been more willing to do things they haven’t in the past.
The Kansas City Chiefs did that with Dee Ford last year and it seemed to work out pretty well for them. They did end up winning the Super Bowl, subsequently acquiring Frank Clark to fill the pass-rushing void.
If the Steelers do tag Dupree, then that will mean that they have cleared up something in the ballpark of $16 million in salary cap space. Should they get a quality offer for him, then they will not only get some type of compensation for him, they will also be able to use that money to build their roster, which could include acquiring another pass-rusher.
Dupree is already at his ceiling, and it’s equally if nor more likely that the 2019 season was already his best, with an expectation that his numbers will regress to a mean, rather than what we’re seeing having been part of a consistent progression. That’s not worth the price tag, if they can get something else out of it.
The Steelers are not going to find a better option than Dupree within their means, even with the cap space they would have already cleared to get him under the franchise tag, and this is a team whose goal is to win the Super Bowl in 2020.
Trading him would be contrary to those efforts, because they have nobody who could feasibly take his place, even allowing for the possibility of Anthony Chickillo somehow being on the roster in 2020.
The truth is that a team isn’t really going to offer a whole lot for Dupree. Ford brought back a second-round pick. Jadeveon Clowney got a third-round pick and two players, including Barkevious Mingo. The Steelers’ own would be likely to get maybe a third-rounder with nothing else, and I might lean toward even a later pick, if they even get any offers.