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 answered, 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: What will Bud Dupree’s market value be now that he is officially available?
The Tennessee Titans made the release of Bud Dupree official yesterday, just two years into a five-year contract agreed to in 2021. A small portion of his 2023 salary was actually guaranteed, but they still saved quite a bit of cap space by moving on.
A 2015 first-round draft pick of the Steelers, Dupree played at a Pro Bowl-caliber level in his final two seasons here before signing a big-money contract with the Titans as a free agent. He earned $34 million from those two seasons on an $82.5 million deal and has made $68 million overall during the course of his eight-year career.
Now 30 years old and coming off a couple of down years marred by injury, it’s unlikely that his market will be anything close to where it was; indeed, it is not immediately clear that anybody looking for a starter on the edge will view him as one.
Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, the Steelers have shown “preliminary interest” in bringing Dupree pack, according to Josina Anderson. How interesting that gets will be determined by his market, but outside of an inevitable demotion I see no reason why he would not welcome the opportunity to come back to Pittsburgh.
Ultimately, it will come down to two things: Dupree’s willingness to accept a rotational role, and whether or not anybody else is willing to offer him more, perhaps moreso in terms of on-field opportunities than financial, than could Pittsburgh.
The Steelers know that they need a quality third edge, which they very much did not have last season when T.J. Watt missed seven games. Perhaps they wonder how the season might have gone had they had somebody like Dupree on the roster, instead of Malik Reed and Jamir Jones, to step into that role.