Where Should Bud Dupree be Looking to Sign?
By: Jeremy Trottier
Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End/Outside Linebacker Bud Dupree will be entering free agency for the first time in his professional career with almost no idea of whether he will return to Pittsburgh or not. After spending six seasons with the black and gold, he could be finding a new direction to travel with a new NFL team. An ACL injury (seen below) this season derailed what could have been a career year for Dupree, who racked up eight sacks and two forced fumbles in only eleven games.
This past weekend we saw Bud Dupree on Twitter respond to a media correspondent saying he should get a one-year deal worth six million dollars total. Bud just sent laughing emojis in response, clearly showing his displeasure with that contract amount.
With that said, many fanbases would be extremely happy with the addition of this star-studded linebacker to their favorite team. However, there can only be one team to sign him this offseason. Here are my three choices to who should sign the returning backer, and why I believe those teams would be a sensational fit.
Starting off with a playoff contending team, we have the Indianapolis Colts. As a first-round exit in the 2020-2021 playoffs, the Colts should be looking for improvements wherever they can get them. Bringing in Bud on a relatively cheap one- or two-year deal would be a fantastic addition to the linebacking core they already have.
Putting Bud next to an absolute monster of a linebacker in Darius Leonard would make an already scary defense absolutely lethal. The Colts also run a 4-3 system, similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers, so Dupree would not have to make many adjustments. Being next to Darius would also take some of the pressure off Bud, which would let the recently injured linebacker get back into the game at full speed.
The Colts defensive coordinator, Matt Eberflus, was previously a linebacker’s coach for the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. Having a former linebacker coach as your coordinator will only improve your game if you are a linebacker, such as Dupree. There is a reason the Houston Texans were looking at Eberflus as a potential head coaching candidate, and it is because he is fantastic at his job.
New Orleans Saints
Moving to the Bayou would be a massive change for Bud, in a lot of different aspects. However one of the best things about getting to play for the black and gold is he would already be surrounded with talent. The Saints will likely be either moving on from or restructuring the deal of Kwon Alexander this offseason.
In another instance of a 4-3 defensive scheme, we would see this be a monstrous defense with the addition of Dupree. The front seven of the Saints would look something like this:
• Edges: Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport
• Tackles: Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata
• Outside Linebackers: Kwon Alexander (restructured deal) and Bud Dupree
• Inside Linebacker: Demario Davis
If the Saints really want to commit to becoming a run killing team, this is their opportunity to do so. An issue to look at is their cap situation, being almost one hundred million dollars over the projected cap line. However, with one of the best in the business at fixing contracts with general manager Mickey Loomis, this should be overcome pretty quickly.
Linebackers coach Michael Hodges has been extremely productive since his promotion in February of last year. He has continued the development of Demario Davis into a superstar and has really turned Kwon Alexander into a force to be reckoned with. If they can add the third missing piece to this crew, there is only one direction to go, and that is up.
This fit would be good for a few reasons from my perspective. First off, he would get to go up against his former team twice a year at least and pay them back in a sense for not paying him his worth. This would also help out the Browns as Dupree knows the Steelers playbook all too well and would be able to read plays they throw at him.
Here we have another team who runs a similar defense to the Steelers, considering it’s 4-3 base with primary emphasis on the front four linemen. With that said, not just the front four make up a defense, and the Cleveland Browns really, and I mean really, need a new linebacker.
If the dawg pound can bring in a linebacker in free agency, and one or two during the draft, they would have a fully formed LB unit. Putting Bud in a position to succeed with two young talented linebackers around him would be a fantastic idea for this defensive core. Playing him behind an absolute game changer in Myles Garrett is also a great thing to watch for.