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Steelers exercise 5th year option on OLB Bud Dupree

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly picked up the 5th year option on OLB Bud Dupree.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Among the NFL Draft talk, the Le’Veon Bell saga and Free Agency, there has been a lingering issue which hasn’t received much publicity. That would be the 5th year option for outside linebacker Bud Dupree.

The Steelers brass has spoken about how they have to weigh their options, but they were anything but certain on whether they would pull the trigger on retaining Dupree after his rookie contract expired after the 2018 season.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the team is indeed picking up Dupree’s option:

The Steelers have only not picked up the 5th year option for a first round pick one time, and that was with Jarvis Jones. Every other 1st round pick since the league started the 5th year option has been retained for that extra year.

Will this impact the Steelers’ approach to the NFL Draft? Possibly, but the team still needs depth at the outside linebacker position. Take a look at their current depth chart:

T.J. Watt
Bud Dupree
Anthony Chickillo
Keion Adams

The Steelers are hedging their bet on Dupree having a healthy, and productive, season where he proves he is worthy of the contract he is about to receive for the 2019 season. In the meantime, the Steelers would be wise to still look to add to their current crop of outside linebackers.

UPDATE:

Per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have made the move official: