The Pittsburgh Steelers chose not to franchise tag OLB/edge rusher Bud Dupree. The talented rusher suffered a torn ACL in Week 12, but was told by doctors he will be full-go come training camp. Dupree finished the season with eight sacks, which was good for second on the team behind T.J. Watt. Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Dupree has totaled 19.5 sacks, which is in the top-10 in the NFL. With Olivier Vernon coming off a torn Achilles, and the fact that he will be 30 by next season, the Cleveland Browns should take a hard look at signing Dupree away from their biggest rival.
Browns Should Steal Bud Dupree From the Steelers in Free Agency
Bud Dupree Stats
On top of playing in 10 games every season since his second year in the league, Dupree has some impressive stats over his six-year NFL career.
Tackles: 231 | Tackles For Loss: 54
Sacks: 39.5 | Forced Fumbles: 8
Interceptions: 1 | Passes Defended: 11
QB Hits: 65 | Fumble Recoveries: 3
Age: 28 | Games Played: 81
Why Browns Should Sign Bud Dupree in NFL Free Agency
The Browns offense wasn’t the problem at the end of the year. It was their defense, and specifically their linebacker corps and secondary. While the Browns will have to deal with the secondary at some point, Bud Dupree is a great option for the Browns. It’s very possible that only one starter from this year’s Browns defensive line will be on the team next year. Obviously, that is Myles Garrett, and signing Dupree would immediately fill a position of need.
He could start opposite Garrett and be a great duo rushing the quarterback. They have a combined 82 sacks between them and 96 tackles for loss. It’s fair to say that he would be more effective in the Browns scheme than even Vernon was towards the end of the season.
Cleveland has almost $27 million in cap space, and they need to find some defensive line help. Spotrac projects a contract worth around $70 Million over four years. While it is expensive, it is absolutely worth it. If you look at the teams in the NFL with a dominant, foot in the dirt defensive end, some of their best sack partners are edge-rushing outside linebackers. Just look at the situation Dupree just came from. T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward are one of the best pass rushing duos in the NFL. However, with Garrett only being 25 and Dupree only 28, they would be a younger, better version of their rivals in Pittsburgh.
Projected Contract Offer: 4 Years, $72.5 Million