Considered one of the top available pass-rushers in the NFL this offseason, former Kentucky football star Bud Dupree is going to have plenty of options to choose from when he officially hits free agency starting March 17.
And yes, Dupree is going to be a very, very rich individual because of it.
Coming off a season where he recorded eight total sacks and 15 quarterback hits in 11 games, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal has listed Dupree as one of the top 20 free agents this offseason. More specifically, the prominent outlet listed the former Wildcat as the No. 2 available edge rusher in the entire league.
“A late-season torn ACL hurts Dupree’s value, but he’s versatile and strong enough to make a three-year contract worth it,” Rosenthal said of Dupree, who came in at No. 12 overall.
Check out the first 20 names on Rosenthal’s list of top 101 free agents of 2021:
- Dak Prescott (QB)
- Trent Williams (OT)
- Allen Robinson (WR)
- Leonard Williams (DE)
- Justin Simmons (S)
- Chris Godwin (WR)
- J.J. Watt (DE)
- Shaquil Barrett (Edge)
- Aaron Jones (RB)
- Taylor Moton (OT)
- Brandon Scherff (OG)
- Bud Dupree (Edge)
- Trey Hendrickson (Edge)
- Carl Lawson (Edge)
- Kenny Golladay (WR)
- Jadeveon Clowney (Edge)
- Joe Thuney (OG)
- Matt Judon (Edge)
- Corey Linsley (C)
- Yannick Ngakoue (Edge)
Dupree, who played under a $15.8 million franchise tag in 2020, tore his ACL in Pittsburgh’s Week 12 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Leading up to the injury, though, the 28-year-old pass-rusher proved to be worth a hefty contract going into the 2021 offseason.
Back in February, Steelers general manager Kelvin Colbert told reporters that if the team can afford to bring the former Wildcat back, they plan to do so, but the market will dictate that when free agency opens in the coming weeks.
“We’re never going to eliminate a great player like Bud Dupree, because we don’t know what Bud’s market is, and Bud doesn’t know what his market is at this point,” Colbert said. “I think that’s pretty common for not only our free agents but the whole free agency group until we get a solid cap number.”
Unfortunately for the Steelers, the standout edge rusher isn’t expected to take a discount to remain in Pittsburgh. Just this afternoon, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan that Dupree is in line for a “massive payday” on a multi-year contract.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) March 1, 2021
Prior to Dupree’s injury in 2020, the former Wildcat recorded his first double-digit sack season in 2019, finishing with a career high 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbled to go with 68 combined tackles, 49 solo, 17 quarterback hits, and three pass deflections.
The Steelers selected Dupree with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after a dominant four-year career in Lexington. As a senior at Kentucky, the former Wildcat managed 74 total tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, and eight sacks in 12 starts.
Get your money, Bud.