The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: If the Titans were to cut Bud Dupree, should the Steelers be interested, and at what price?
Outside of the starting lineup, securing quality depth at the outside linebacker position may just be the Steelers’ top priority this offseason. What they had to work with a year ago just did not cut it. Even after making a move to acquire Malik Reed via trade, he ended up a healthy scratch by year’s end.
Jamir Jones isn’t even under contract at the moment, though as an exclusive rights free agent, it’s a safe bet that he will be retained. But he’s not the guy you want coming on the field whenever T.J. Watt or Alex Highsmith is on the sidelines.
So what about the possibility of reuniting with a familiar face, even if for just one season? The Tennessee Titans are expected to release former Steelers first-round draft pick Bud Dupree, although it may not happen until the start of the new league year if they intend to designate him a post-June 1st cut.
This brings to the forefront numerous questions, starting with the most fundamental: should the Steelers be interested? Could the Bud Dupree of 2023 be a positive contributor to the team? He would only be brought in as a rotational reserve in a capacity similar to that of Melvin Ingram, but would he respond similarly, especially with an organization he knows well?
We can safely assume that his preference would be to start and that he would be seeking a starting opportunity. But unless you’re drafting a guy, it’s hard to find quality depth on the edge unless you’re looking at former starters.
So let’s say we’ve established that Dupree could help the Steelers and that he would be open to a reserve role. The final piece of the puzzle is asking price. At what price point should Pittsburgh be buyers for Dupree? This has to take into consideration his health history, which has not been great. If the Steelers announced on March 16 that they agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with Dupree, what would your reaction to that news be?