Free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree has signed a new contract with the Tennessee Titans. This deal removes one of the top edge pass rushers off the open market.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
Bud Dupree, Tennessee Titans, Agree to Contract
The agreement comes while Dupree is rehabilitating from surgery to repair a torn ACL which occurred in a Week 11 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. Several media outlets have reported that Dupree’s rehab is ahead of schedule and he should be a full participant at training camp this summer.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Dupree out of Kentucky with their 2015 first round draft pick. At first, he had a very up-and-down start to his professional career, but that all changed in 2019.
Dupree had a breakout campaign as he recorded 11.5 sacks, 68 tackles and forced four fumbles in 16 games. The talented edge pass rusher was on the pace for another outstanding season in 2020. Through 11 games, Dupree was creating havoc in opponent’s backfield with eight sacks and two forced fumbles before his season was cut short due to the ACL tear. How dominant had Dupree become? Well, Dupree’s sacks (19.5) for 2019-20 almost equaled the career total (20) of his first four seasons in the NFL.
The Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin believes Dupree’s continuous drive to be the best has been aided by his own personal evolution in the sport. The time was right for Dupree to take his play to the next level. Tomlin made these remarks in an interview with Penn Live.
Dupree has developed a great partnership with T.J. Watt over the last two seasons. Together, they have combined for 49 sacks and become one of the top edge pass rush duos in the NFL. Not surprising, the Steelers were a top five defensive unit over the same period.
Despite all of the unknowns associated with an ACL tear, it should not take Dupree long to regain his pass rushing skills once he is given clearance to return to team activities. The injury should not limit his ability to become one of the league’s top pass rushers in 2021.
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