Bud Dupree

Per NFL.com and other news sources, the Pittsburgh Steelers have announced they have exercised the fifth-year option on linebacker Bud Dupree’s rookie contract. Per the report by Marc Sessler, Dupree’s price tag for 2019 comes in at a robust $9.232 million.

“Dupree remains a work in progress for the Steelers,” writes Sessler. “The 22nd overall pick from 2015 has failed to top six sacks in any of his first three campaigns, leaving plenty of Steelers fans frustrated with the fourth-year edge rusher.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers could look to draft a linebacker in the first round of the draft this week. The name most mentioned could be Alabama ‘backer Rashaan Evans. The move to keep Dupree under contract should have little impact on this week’s NFL Draft plans. The Steelers need help at inside linebacker, with Pro Bowler Ryan Shazier ruled out for the 2018 season while recovering from spinal stabilization surgery.

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said last month the team was still deciding what to do with Dupree as he had not scratched the surface on his talent at 25 years old.

Dupree returned as a starter at defensive end his senior season in 2014 and was voted team captain for the Wildcats that year. For the season he had 74 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, and eight sacks. He also started all 12 games and recorded his first career interception which he returned for a game-winning touchdown in a 45-38 win against South Carolina.

Pittsburgh is essentially hoping to cash in on a breakout year from Dupree, who set a career-high with six takedowns last season but ranked 44th out of 46 qualifying players at his position, per Pro Football Focus.

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