OLB Bud Dupree To Visit Steelers

Bud Dupree‘s time with the Titans didn’t go according to plan, but a return to a familiar team could be in the cards. The veteran edge rusher is set to visit the Steelers, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Dupree spent the first six years of his career in Pittsburgh, and he enjoyed considerable career growth during that time. A first-round pick in 2015, he was a full-time starter by his third season and a key producer by the end of his rookie contract. Playing on the fifth-year option, the Kentucky product posted a career-best 11.5 sacks in 2019, and followed that up with another eight on the franchise tag the following season.

Those totals made Dupree a hot commodity on the open market, and earned him a massive deal with the Titans. That five-year, $82MM contract carried hefty expectations for player and team, but Dupree struggled to stay healthy during his time in Nashville. He was limited to 11 contests in both of his Titans campaigns, and, more worryingly, failed to produce at the level he showed he was capable of during his time in Pittsburgh.

Dupree totaled only seven sacks with the Titans, putting up underwhelming pressure numbers relative to his contract. It thus came as little surprise when Tennessee released him in a cost-cutting move earlier in the offseason. That allowed the Titans to turn their attention elsewhere in the edge rush department, leaving Dupree as one of several veteran pass rushers on the open market this year.

Now 30, he could be well-served to return to the Steelers. The team has T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith at the top of their depth chart, with the latter entering the final year of his rookie contract. That tandem has proved highly effective for Pittsburgh, though their defensive pressure fell considerably when Watt was sidelined early in the 2022 season. Dupree could serve as a high-end insurance policy and experienced rotational rusher in the event he agreed to a short-term deal worth far less than what he received the last time he was a free agent.

Steelers To Sign OL Isaac Seumalo

One of the top remaining offensive linemen in this year’s free agent class is set for an intra-state move. Isaac Seumalo has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Steelers, per Jordan Schultz of The Score (Twitter link).

The 28-year-old had spent all seven years of his NFL career with the Eagles, seeing 60 starts amongst his 80 games played. A full-time starter since the 2019 campaign, Seumalo had primarily seen action at left guard prior to this past season. In 2022, he played on the right side for the first time in four years, logging over 1,100 snaps as the Eagles’ right guard.

The former third-rounder earned himself a three-year, $15.92MM second contract with Philadelphia thanks to his consistency. Seumalo’s strong play has been reflected by positive year-over-year PFF grades ranking him amongst the best interior linemen in the league. In 2022, his overall grade of 72.7 placed him in the top 10 for all qualifying guards.

While that will make his departure a notable one for the NFC champions, it is not an unexpected one. The Eagles were thought to be set for a number of losses in free agency, and they have indeed seen several contributors to this year’s run to the Super Bowl depart. Seumalo will become the latest to do so, though Philadelphia has Cam Jurgens in place as a succession candidate. The 2022 second-rounder was drafted to one day replace Jason Kelce at the center spot, but the latter’s decision to keep playing at least one more year will allow Jurgens to get playing time at right guard.

Seumalo has an injury history, including 14 games missed in 2021 and seven in 2020. However, his addition is a significant one for a Steelers team which has made several moves up front in recent years. Improving along the interior will give a big boost to Pittsburgh’s o-line, and likely pave the way for a bounce-back season on the ground after they ranked mid-pack in rushing yardage in 2022.

The addition of Seumalo comes not long after Pittsburgh signed another former Eagles lineman in Nate HerbigThe latter inked a modest two-year deal, but a starting role was not thought to be out of the question. Regarldess of what happens with him, an upgrade at one guard spot has now been secured with Seumalo, who will look to replicate his personal and team success from his Eagles tenure in his new NFL home.