The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to host free agent linebacker Bud Dupree on a visit, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
The potential signing of Dupree would represent a homecoming between the 30-year-old and the Steelers. Pittsburgh selected Dupree with the 22nd overall selection in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Kentucky. He spent six seasons with the Steelers, accumulating 39.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Dupree’s best season came in 2019, when he racked up a career-high 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 68 tackles.
Dupree cashed in following an 8.0-sack season in 2020, inking a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Tennessee Titans. Coming off a torn ACL at the end of the season, Dupree failed to replicate the success he had in Pittsburgh. In 22 games over the past two seasons with the Titans, Dupree recorded 7.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and 35 tackles. He was hampered by an abdominal injury in 2021 and hip injuries in 2022. Tennessee officially released Dupree on March 16.
Dupree would join a pass rush which includes 2021 Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. After a 22.5-sack season in 2021, Watt had just 5.5 in 2022 — sidelined for seven games with a torn pectoral muscle. Highsmith, meanwhile, posted a career-high 14.5 sacks and a league-leading five forced fumbles. After pacing the NFL with 55.0 sacks the year prior, Pittsburgh regressed to 40.0 in 2022.
Steelers Active During Free Agency
Through the first two weeks of free agency, the Steelers have made moves in an effort to reshuffle their defense. Three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is the most notable acquisition, signing with Pittsburgh on a two-year, $14 million deal. The Steelers later signed linebackers Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to multi-year deals.
In addition, star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had his contract restructured. This past June, Fitzpatrick signed a four-year, $73.6 million extension. The restructuring of his contract gave the franchise $10.065 million in cap space. Pittsburgh said goodbye to 2018 first-round pick safety Terrell Edmunds — who signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Edmunds penned an emotional farewell on Twitter.
“Thank you Pittsburgh for making my dreams come to reality,” Edmunds wrote. “You will forever be part of me and my journey! I’m thankful for all of my coaches, teammates and every fan supporting! To my bruddas y’all kno how we rockin, it’s gonna be luv until the wheels fall off.”