Steelers had ‘no hesitation’ with Bud Dupree
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert explained why the team used its fifth-year option on outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who is shown here warming up before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
PITTSBURGH — Exercising the fifth-year option on Bud Dupree wasn’t much of a question for the head of the Steelers’ personnel department.
Kevin Colbert said Monday, hours after news of the team picking up the team option on its 2015 first-round pick, that doing so was simply a matter of believing Dupree can help the team in the next two seasons.
“We’re excited about where he can be in these next two years and we had no hesitation with making that move when we did it,” Colbert said.
The general manager had lightly backed the outside linebacker earlier in the offseason without committing to picking up the club option. And on a day when he went on to speak about how the team thinks about draft picks for the short- and long-term futures of the franchise, Colbert portrayed the Dupree option as common sense.
NFL teams can rescind the fifth-year option and its elevated salary fifth-year salary, unless the player gets injured.
Dupree has played just one complete season as a full-time starter without a heavy outside linebacker rotation. He seized a starting role three-quarters of the way through his rookie season, but continued to split reps with Arthur Moats.
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Following recovery from an abdominal surgery that kept him on injured-reserve for the first 10 weeks of the 2016 season, Dupree did team with James Harrison to eliminate Pittsburgh’s rotation policy as he made 4.5 sacks in just seven regular season games.
Playing the overwhelming majority of left outside linebacker snaps in 2017 – though he did occasionally switch sides with T.J. Watt – Dupree compiled 6 sacks, 40 combined tackles, 9 solo tackles and a pass breakup in 15 games.
Said Mike Tomlin: “Man we’re excited about what Bud’s going to do for us in ’18 and ’19 and comfortable that he’s going to meet the challenge.”
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