Will Bud Dupree Suit Up for the Steelers in 2020?

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Jessica Costello

Bud Dupree‘s impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ 2019 season didn’t go unnoticed, as teammates, coaches, and fans want to see him return for seasons to come. And Dupree himself wants to suit up in the black and gold, only if the price is right.

Dupree’s contract is probably going to be the Steelers’ most important contract negotiation of this off-season. The deciding factor? What the organization’s finances look like and if free agency appeals to Dupree a little more.

The 26-year-old linebacker is looking to come back for a sixth season in Pittsburgh, but is letting the off-season tell the tale.

“I’m just waiting, talking to my agents,” Dupree said after Sunday’s 28-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. “I don’t know. This is my first time (in free agency). You always want to finish where you start.”

After the team returned to Rooney Sports Complex to clean out their lockers, Dupree’s mindset didn’t change that much.

“We just lost a game, so we’re still feeling those emotions,” Dupree said. “Just know free agency is a possibility is exciting.”

The Steelers were able to keep this from happening before by exercising the linebacker’s fifth-year contract option worth $9.232 million. Dupree then had probably his best season recording 16 tackles for loss and finishing second with 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. He even set a career-best tallying 68 tackles.

“You saw the impact he made this year,” said outside linebacker T.J. Watt. “As we get more comfortable with each other. Just continue to grow and take those steps from year to year. I think he’s just beginning.”
“I know it was his fifth year, but he has so much more potential to reach.”

With the contract expiring in March, the Steelers could use a method they used with Le’Veon Bell in 2017-18. A franchise tag is an option if they don’t want free agency to be a possibility.

The franchise tag would cost $16.266 million for 2020 if that was the route the team went with Dupree. That would be an increase of $7 million for the linebacker.

He was asked if he was opposed to signing the franchise tag.

“Whatever is best for me in the long run,” he responded.

The franchise-tag tender could be used on him while negotiation are made between the two sides. That would have to be decided by mid-July to sign Dupree after placing the tag on him. After being asked about Bell’s experience with the franchise tag, his answer was simple.

“Two different people, two different franchise tags,” Dupree said. “I’ll probably handle mine a little different than Le’Veon did.”

After being asked about the possibilities of going to another team, he seemed to entertain the thought.

“You’ve got to make sure you’d be a good key for another team,” he said. “Of course, money comes in. Just being able to be somewhere you feel comfortable, that also plays a big part.”

The Steelers also have a few other off-season decisions to make. Defensive tackle, Javon Hargrave, and backup interior offensive lineman, B.J. Finney, among others.

“A lot of people are free agents this year,” Dupree said. “A lot of stuff can happen, but there are a lot of holes to fill.”
“Everybody likes Bud,” cornerback, Steve Nelson, said. “He’s a very likable guy. He brings a ton of energy each and every day. He’s one of those great locker room guys that you want around. He’s a hard worker, just everything you look for. I don’t know the details of what is going on, but as a teammate, I’d like him to be here.”

Cornerback, Joe Haden, also chimed in on the importance of keeping Dupree but understanding that at the end of the day, it’s a business.

“It’s a business. It’s a big business, but things can happen,” Haden said. “I hope they understand this is a team. This is a defense that is unbelievable at creating turnovers, getting sacks, getting after the quarterback. Bud is a really big part of that.”

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Will Dupree be back for the 2020 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!


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One Comment

  1. Mitch

    December 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

    This is one of the areas the Steelers is slow to react when it comes to signing players who deserve to be given a generous contract.the broken play book the GM has been using for years is causing the team problems in more ways than one.the players who can play and deserve a new contract get it done stop trying to find less talented players who is average thinking the team could get by with non productive players.great players have been let go and non productive players are kept for years on the roster getting paid and not contributing at all they should have been cut years ago.Ben is overpaid but was paid with out hesitation.Pay bud depree who can play deserves it and he wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

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