The Steelers are 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 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 does the lack of a contract mean for the potential of the Steelers signing Bud Dupree?
The Steelers are in need of depth at outside linebacker. Bud Dupree is in need of a new team after being released two years into a big five-year contract, and if he was going to get another big deal he would have found it by now.
There is clear mutual interest, since he was in the building for a free agent visit last Thursday, but there was no mention of any contract details. One assumes that the primary purpose of the meeting was to assess his health, but it could have been more about touching base and seeing where each side stands rather than getting a deal done.
Now that it’s nearly a full week since his visit and there has been no conversation at all about forward progress, what does that mean about his potential to sign? It’s possible that Pittsburgh didn’t like what the medical showed when he came in, and that would likely torpedo any potential reunion, or at least put it on hold until he’s healthier.
If it’s not about his health, it could either be about compensation or role. Dupree is used to being a starter, and it might not be easy for him to immediately step into a reserve, rotational role. He was also making eight figures a year. He’s looking at a salary a third or a quarter of what he was making.
The most important thing to keep in mind right now is that there is no rush for either side to get something done. It makes sense for both the Steelers and Dupree to continue exploring their options. This may not get revisited until after the draft—maybe even until training camp—if he remains unsigned. It’s not like he would need the offseason to get up to speed after playing here for six years.