It’s been a long couple of seasons for former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree. He’s missed a lot of time and played through a lot of injuries since signing a big-money contract with the Tennessee Titans in 2021. At least one Titans beat reporter is surprised he’s still there.
“I think he’s gonna get cut. I was surprised he wasn’t announced as a cut”, on Wednesday, Jon Burton said on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller. Tennessee released several high-salaries players on Wednesday, including tackle Taylor Lewan.
“They may be waiting for June 1, because they paid big money for him as a free agent, as you well know, and he’s done next to nothing but get hurt a lot and try to come back and then get hurt again and then try to come back and get hurt again”, Burton added. Teams may designate players post-June 1 cuts beginning at the start of the new league year.
A former 22nd-overall draft pick in 2015, Dupree’s career took a while to get going. That was in part due to injuries that he suffered in the early portions of his career. He began to come into his own in 2019, his fifth season, posting 11.5 sacks and being in the running for the Pro Bowl. He followed that up with another strong season playing under the franchise tag, which was cut short when he suffered a torn ACL.
He’s unfortunately never been the same since, but no more unfortunate, other than for himself, than it was for the Titans. Tennessee signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, which included over $33 million fully guaranteed. That consisted of a $16 million signing bonus and guaranteed salaries in the first two years.
Those first two years are now up, however. He is due $17 million in base salary this season. $1.25 million of that salary became guaranteed a year ago, but they can save the rest by releasing him. A straight pre-June release would create $9,350,000 prior to displacement in cap space. That includes a $9.6 million dead money charge stemming from his initial signing bonus.
Even though the Titans haven’t cut him yet, however, Burton still believes it will happen at some point. Dupree has played in 22 games for Tennessee, registering just 35 tackles with seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pass defensed.
“I would assume he is a strong candidate to be cut”, Burton said. “They announced four cuts yesterday. I was surprised his name wasn’t mentioned. But I think it’s coming. If you’re asking me to predict, yes, I do believe he will be cut”.
Asked if he thinks the former first-round pick still has anything left in the tank, he was blunt. “No. I don’t”, he said with a laugh.
It does seem hard to imagine that they would be willing to pay him another $15.75 million this season, given what they have gotten out of him over the past two years. Dupree has only really had one or two truly healthy seasons in his career, so the past two seasons in terms of his ability to play healthy are not an anomaly.
Now 30 years old and without much production in recent years, with a growing list of injuries, what kind of market would Dupree find for himself should the Titans make him available?