Two years after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency to sign a lucrative contract with the Tennessee Titans, outside linebacker Bud Dupree’s time in Nashville is coming to an end.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Titans are expected to cut the 30-year-old pass rusher after two years of a five-year deal he signed in 2021. Dupree was due to be owed $17 million this season in base salary.
Following a six-year run in Pittsburgh that saw him come on strong late, recording 11.5 sacks in 2019 and 8.0 sacks in 2020 before suffering a torn ACL, Dupree was one of the big-name players on the market that offseason. Despite rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered late in the 2020 season, Dupree inked a five-year, $82.5 million contract with Tennessee on March 18, 2021 with $33.75 million fully guaranteed.
Since getting that big-money contract, Dupree has struggled to stay on the field in Nashville.
Dupree has played in 22 games for Tennessee, registering just 35 tackles with seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pass defensed. The decision to cut Dupree comes as no surprise, considering his lack of production, inability to stay healthy and available, as well as the amount of money the Titans will save in cap space, which is roughly $9.35 million this season.
With Dupree expected to be cut, that opens up the plausible path to his potential return to Pittsburgh as a depth outside linebacker behind the likes of T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. The Steelers need to address the third outside linebacker role behind Watt and Highsmith, and do so in a smart, productive way.
That doesn’t sound like it fits Dupree overall right now, but there’s familiarity and a clear role for a guy who just got cut two years into a five-year deal and is entering free agency at his lowest value possible. We’ll see if the Steelers have interest in a reunion with the 30-year-old Dupree now that he’s expected to be released.