Cameron Heyward Pushes for Terrell Edmunds’ Return, Dreams Of Watt/Highsmith/Dupree Trio At EDGE

On the most recent episode of his Not Just Football With Cam Heyward podcast, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward spoke about the team’s recent moves in free agency including losing Cam Sutton to the Lions and signing Patrick Peterson to replenish the secondary. When asked about the Steelers bringing back S Damontae Kazee, Heyward was elated but also expressed his desire to bring back another player on the backend of the defense.

“Signing Kazee back is huge,” Heyward said on the podcast. “I do still think we should get Terrell Edmunds back in the mix because having three safeties that can play all over the field is huge. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I thought once [Kazee] got back into the fold with us, man, he played lights out. So… glad to have him back and hopefully we can get Edmunds back as well.”

Kazee returned from an injury after the team’s bye week and gave the defense a huge boost, helping the team finish with a 6-2 record in the second half of the season. Kazee made 20 total tackles, two INTs, and two PBUs during that span, adding more splash to the defense. While Edmunds hasn’t been much of a splashy player during his time in Pittsburgh, he has been reliable. That allowed Pittsburgh to roll with three safeties on the field when Kazee returned, freeing Minkah Fitzpatrick to move all over the defense and disguise coverages. That made life hard on opposing QBs and the Steelers tied the 49ers for the NFL lead with 20 INTs last season.

After talking about Edmunds, Heyward was asked about the possibility of reuniting with a former teammate that had just been released Thursday morning: OLB Bud Dupree.

“Bud’s my buddy,” Heyward said. “Bud got a buddy in me, and I was always bummed to see Bud leave, but to get a guy like Bud back and then you’d have a three-headed monster. Man, you couldn’t ask for a nastier group. I thought we were really finding our stride when Bud was starting, and Alex was backing both T.J. and him up. And then Alex takes off now. You get a guy like that where you can rotate, you can put ’em all on the same field at the same time. It could be nasty what those guys could do. You don’t want to speculate too much because you are hoping and praying, and then it doesn’t work out. So, we’ll see.”

Dupree was released by the Titans this morning. Shortly after it was reported that the Steelers have preliminary interest in bringing back Dupree by CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. The key is determining if Dupree is healthy after missing 11 games the last two seasons with various injuries — as well as his desire to try and get a starting job with more money or return to the franchise who brought him into the NFL in 2016.

While Highsmith was just a rookie in 2020, the Steelers were a force in the pass rush department, logging 56 sacks, good for first in the league. Dupree and Watt were one of the better edge duos in the league until Dupree tore his ACL against the Ravens in Week 12. He later left in free agency for a big-money deal from the Titans, allowing Highsmith to step into his place. Should Dupree return to Pittsburgh, he would be more of a rotational player with Highsmith breaking out this past season to the tune of 14.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Highsmith spoke about the possibility of having Dupree come back to the team and called the trio a three-headed monster, just like Heyward did. Should Dupree be healthy and choose to come back to Pittsburgh, the Steelers would have one of the best EDGE rooms in the league and give DC Teryl Austin the opportunity to scheme all three on the field in certain packages.

Like Heyward said, however, it’s important to not get your hopes up too much should it not work out, as Dupree likely wants to get paid more than what Pittsburgh would be willing to offer. Still, the move is plausible and would help the Steelers take back the regular-season sack title in 2023, giving them a defense that would strike fear in opposing QBs.

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