Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but it seems as though Pro Football Focus thinks former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is overrated.
The only thing new here, of course, is the addition of the word ‘former’ in there, since Dupree just signed a huge deal with the Tennessee Titans after spending the first six years of his career with the Steelers, having greatly improved his reputation over the course of the past two years.
His steady progress finally matched good health in 2019, and it translated into a career year in which he compiled 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. He was already at 8.5 sacks 11 games into this past season before he tore his ACL.
Many feared, or at least predicted, that the injury would severely curtail his market, but that proved to be far from the case, as the Titans paid up to land him at over $16 million per season. His contract details check in at $82.5 million over five years, including $35 million guaranteed.
It’s safe to say he wouldn’t have gotten close to that for the Steelers, given their financial situation. According to Pro Football Focus, however, it’s one of the worst deals signed so far this offseason, and the largest contract that they labeled ‘Below Average’ in their live deal grader they are running:
PFF has been lower on Dupree than the consensus over his past several seasons in Pittsburgh. He did earn a career-high 77.7 PFF grade back in 2019, but he has failed to top a 62.6 overall grade in any other campaign during his six-year career. The two things you don’t have to worry about Dupree bringing to the table are athleticism and motor. That shows up in his league-high 37 cleanup pressures over the past two seasons despite him missing time in 2020 due to injury.
Still, Dupree hasn’t shown the ability to win at a high level in one-on-one pass-rushing situations. He was helped immensely by T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, each of whom drew attention and flushed quarterbacks from the pocket to create additional opportunities for Dupree to pile up sack and pressure numbers. He likely won’t see a similar situation in Tennessee.
The Titans did all they could to improve at edge rusher in 2020 opposite 2018 second-round pick Harold Landry III, signing Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year flier worth around $13 million and Vic Beasley to a one-year deal for about $9.5 million. Both were quite unsuccessful, with Beasley waived during the season and Clowney going down with an injury after eight games.
After missing out on J.J. Watt earlier this offseason, Tennessee locks up Dupree to the second-biggest contract at edge rusher — behind only Shaq Barrett’s deal with Tampa Bay. It’s not unlikely that Dupree’s deal looks just as bad in hindsight as Clowney’s and Beasley’s do this offseason.
A lot of what is written is true, but I think most will agree that he is not being given enough credit. They still value the other three of the Steelers’ front four very highly even though they all benefit from each other as well.
Either way, it won’t be the Steelers who find out whether or not this proves to be a good deal or not. They may have wanted to keep him, but he put up the numbers to earn himself more elsewhere. It’s now the Titans’ problem to get out of him what they decided he’s worth.