NFL Free Agency is set to kick off this week, as players are officially allowed to sign with new teams on March 17th at 4 p.m.
Among them are many talented athletes, one of whom happens to be former Kentucky Wildcat Bud Dupree. After a season playing under the franchise tag for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dupree is going to hit the open market for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending ACL tear in December that could limit the amount of money he’ll receive, but the 28-year-old should still have plenty of suitors.
As a matter of fact, he appears to have made some serious strides in the four months since his injury.
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) March 13, 2021
So where might Dupree land?
In what would surely be a gut punch to Steelers fans, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports predicts him to jump across the AFC North to a divisional rival.
How does Myles Garrett and Bud Dupree rushing the passer sound…
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) March 14, 2021
Here’s La Canfora’s reasoning for the Browns signing Dupree:
Do you think the Browns would love to weaken the Steelers? After like decades of being under their thumb? Of course they would. And the Steelers are stifled by their previous spending and the suppressed cap. The Browns have a ton of cap and Myles Garrett under contract for his entire prime and a desperate need to upgrade from Olivier Vernon on the other side of their defensive line.
There’s also been a lot of chatter about Dupree heading north to join the New York Giants, a team lacking pass-rushing weapons outside of defensive end Leonard Williams. ESPN ran a free agency simulator that placed the former Wildcat in the Meadowlands on a hefty 4-year, $64 million contract with $42 million guaranteed.
If there’s one thing Dupree has going for him, it’s that edge rusher is one of the premier position groups in the NFL. The truly elite ones are few and far between, which drives up the market for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 options, as well as players coming off a major injury like Dupree.
It’ll be interesting to see where the man who clinched one of UK’s most memorable wins winds up. Wednesday can’t come soon enough!