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 will work out a long-term extension with Bud Dupree by July’s deadline.
Explanation: For the 10,000th time, the Steelers reaffirmed that they have every intention of signing sixth-year outside linebacker Bud Dupree to a long-term extension. Just before the draft, he committed to the 2020 season by signing his franchise tag, but the two sides have until July 15th to work out a multi-year deal.
Dupree already has a cap hit of around $16 million by virtue of the franchise tag amount, so that’s not really going to be an issue, fitting a new contract under the Steelers’ 2020 salary cap parameters. At that total, there is really no reason they wouldn’t be able to lower the 2020 cap hit for him, in fact.
Pittsburgh appears to legitimately be of the belief that the 2019 Bud Dupree is the real Dupree, the player that they will be getting over the course of the next few years as he plays through his prime years. and if they can keep getting that out of him, they’ll sign up for it.
The team has made it pretty clear that they want to keep Dupree and T.J. Watt together as a pair that has worked well together, increasingly so, over the past three years. I also think Dupree wants to stay in Pittsburgh and will sign a fair-market offer.
The Steelers have never given a player the franchise tag without the intention of doing a long-term deal. Often enough, however, and not just with Le’Veon Bell, they’ve failed to reach an agreement. One of the sticking points is often their contract structuring. How Dupree feels about that, who knows, but it’s likely he’d like a big fat signing bonus like everyone else.
The team knows that contracts for Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and others are right around the corner. Even Cameron Heyward is not on the books for 2021 yet. They have a lot of future commitments that are not even yet accounted for. The selection of Alex Highsmith was the first step in addressing post-Dupree realities in 2021.