Two seasons after signing a large contract with the Tennessee Titans in 2021, outside linebacker Bud Dupree found himself as a street free agent after being released to start the 2023 NFL league year. Although he had a visit to Pittsburgh at the end of March, Dupree left Pittsburgh without a deal. Just over two weeks later, Dupree has agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons according to Ari Meirov of the 33rd Team.
In his six years with a Pittsburgh Steelers from 2015 through 2020, Bud Dupree appeared and 81 regular season games was 66 starts. Dupree tallied 231 tackles with 54 being for loss along with 65 quarterback hits and 39.5 sacks. Dupree also added another eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries along with 11 passes defensed and an interception return for a touchdown.
After the Steelers exercised the fifth-year option for the former first-round pick for the 2019 season, he played one year in Pittsburgh on the franchise tag which paid him nearly $16 million in 2020. During the 2021 offseason, Dupree signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Titans with $33.75 million guaranteed. After collecting almost $34 million in two seasons in Tennessee, Dupree was released at the beginning of the league year and carries a $10.85 million dead cap hit with the Titans and is still owed another $1.25 million in cash according to overthecap.com.
In his two seasons with the Titans, Dupree only started the equivalent of one year due to injuries as he appeared in 22 games with 17 starts. Dupree ended his Titans career with 35 tackles with eight coming for loss and 17 quarterback hits resulting in 7.0 sacks. Dupree had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries along with one pass defensed.
While many in Steelers’ Nation believed a reunion with the Steelers was eminent, things just didn’t fall right for both parties. Whether it was the money, the length of the contract, or the role Dupree would be playing in the Steelers defense along with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, it’s uncertain at this time exactly why things weren’t able to come together.
UPDATE: According to Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network, Dupree‘s deal is worth up to $5 million for 2023.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 offseason.