Tennessee Titans Officially Release OLB Bud Dupree

Former Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Bud Dupree had been floated as a potential Tennessee Titans cap casualty. Now the speculation has become reality. The Titans announced on their team website that they are parting ways with Dupree and they released him Thursday morning, per Jim Wyatt.

Dupree left the Steelers for the Titans as a free agent in 2021, inking a five-year deal worth $82 million. Dupree played in 22 games the last two seasons, missing 11 due to various injuries. He tallied 35 tackles, seven sacks and 48 quarterback pressures over the two seasons combined.

Dupree had to wait to be released until the new league year due to the structure of his contract. The move saves Tennessee $9.35 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Titans have already found Dupree’s replacement, agreeing to terms with former Jacksonville Jaguars EDGE Arden Key on Wednesday.

The Steelers allowed Dupree to walk two seasons ago since they had Alex Highsmith waiting in the wings. Highsmith took over the starting job in 2021 and has become quite the running mate opposite T.J. Watt. He broke out last season, posting 63 total tackles, 12 TFLs, 14.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles.

Given his familiarity with Pittsburgh and the success he had in its defense, Dupree has been linked to the Steelers as a player who could return to provide depth behind Watt and Highsmith. Highsmith was all for the idea when asked about a potential reunion earlier this offseason, calling it a potential “three-headed monster” with Watt, Dupree, and himself rushing the QB.

While that scenario sounds quite appealing, there are several factors that stand in the way of it becoming a reality. First, Dupree would have to accept a backup/rotational role in Pittsburgh. Second, Dupree would have to be willing to take a smaller deal in the neighborhood of $3 to $4 million annually, similar to the contract that OLB Melvin Ingram signed with the team in 2021 — when Pittsburgh signed him to help replace Dupree. Third, Dupree’s injury history and lack of special-teams value may hurt his prospects of returning to the team since younger players can provide more value on special teams.

Still, the Steelers are a team formed on relationships, and there is no denying the ties that Dupree has to the organization. We shall see what he decides to do in the coming days and whether he tries to get starting money elsewhere or attempt to return to a familiar situation.

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