Just a few weeks after visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers, following his release from the Tennessee Titans two years into a massive five-year deal, veteran outside linebacker Bud Dupree is on the move again.
According to Atlanta sports reporter Zach Klein, Dupree has agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. That ends any hopes of a reunion with the Steelers, the team that drafted the Kentucky product in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Dupree recently visited the Steelers, posting a photo on his Instagram showing he was back in the Steel City. He called Pittsburgh home from 2015 to 2020 before signing a massive five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Titans ahead of the 2021 season in free agency.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Falcons are giving Dupree a one-year deal worth $5 million.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler followed up Rapoport’s report with one of his own, stating that the Steelers were “heavily in the mix” with Dupree, but that the pass rusher’s desire for a one-year deal ultimately won out in Atlanta over the Steelers aiming for a two-year deal.
While in Pittsburgh in late March, Dupree reportedly underwent a physical but apparently no contract details were discussed, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Gerry Dulac.
We’ll never know for sure if Dupree passed his physical with flying colors. That said he is coming off a 2022 season that included his dealing with a hip injury and then a late season pectoral injury. That pectoral injury resulted in Dupree being placed on the Titans’ Reserve/Injured list late in December.
The Titans terminating the contract of Dupree just after the start of the 2023 league year didn’t come as a huge surprise; the play of the veteran outside linebacker the last two seasons didn’t match the money he was getting paid. It is worth noting that Dupree was not listed on the official NFL transaction sheet with a failed physical designation.
The interest from the Steelers stemmed from their hopes of solidifying the depth chart behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Dupree was viewed as a potential No. 3 backup, playing a similar role to what Melvin Ingram III did before forcing his way out via trade in 2021. Chances are, especially after signing his one-year deal with the Falcons, that Dupree didn’t view himself as a backup, even after dealing with injuries the last two seasons in Tennessee, which significantly hindered his availability and ultimately his production.
With the door to a Dupree reunion now slammed shut and a surprise release of Jamir Jones earlier in the week, the Steelers’ need at outside linebacker behind Watt and Highsmith has become all that much greater as the 2023 NFL Draft draws near.