With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.
This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense. Both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Bud Dupree is not the answer to bolster outside linebacker depth.
Explanation: The Steelers have a clear interest in bringing back outside linebacker Bud Dupree, as exhibited by the fact that they brought him in for a visit a week ago. Yet he left unsigned. Any reason why that might have been could be a good enough reason to explain why he is not the answer the for the Steelers.
Let’s start with the possibilities as to why Bud Dupree isn’t already under contract with the Steelers. For one thing, the Steelers might not be comfortable with his health, which is not unlikely. Alternatively, he may be looking for too much money, which is also a problem. If he expects to be paid more than $5 million, that’s asking too much for what he would be brought in to do.
Beyond these reasons, the reality is that the tape Dupree has produced the past two seasons has been thoroughly unremarkable. Just because the Steelers know him doesn’t mean they would be getting back the same Dupree who was chasing down Robert Griffin III, looking for another sack when he tore his ACL. They have to sign a producer, not a memory.
Health, playing time, and salary all have to align for a deal to get done, of course. But none of them have to be obstacles to explain why Dupree might not already be signed. It could be that the Steelers are keeping their options open until after the draft.
Injuries have been a concern throughout Dupree’s career. He knows this and he knows it will keep his price tag down. Whether it happens now or in the summer, he’s eventually going to sign a deal with some team that reflects a rotational role.
And it might as well be the Steelers. He’ll have less risk of injury by playing in a rotational capacity. And at least theoretically, he should be the healthiest he has been coming back this year since he last wore the black and gold.
If he’s healthy and back in Pittsburgh’s system, there’s no reason to think he can’t produce adequately as a rotational pass rusher. And we know he can support the run and even drop into coverage. There would be no question about skill set or fit.