When Coach Mike Tomlin spoke during his season-ending press conference this year he brought up one of the team's biggest free agents.
"He is a priority for us," said Tomlin. "Make no mistake, Bud Dupree is a priority for us."
The team proved that he is a priority today when the team placed the franchise tag on Dupree.
Dupree had his best season in 2019. He finished the year with a career-high 11.5 sacks, recording at least four sacks in each of his first five seasons with the Steelers for a total of 31 ½ career sacks. Dupree also set a single season high with 16 tackles for a loss in 2019, ranking him tied for fifth in the NFL last season. Dupree also added four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Dupree was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Steelers win over the Indianapolis Colts last season. Dupree had three tackles, two sacks, three hits on the quarterback and a forced fumble that he recovered.
One of his biggest plays in that Colts came late in the fourth quarter, with just 1:20 to play in the game. The Colts were facing a third-and-1 from the Steelers' 22-yard line and Dupree knocked Marlon Mack for a three-yard loss.
"He's played really well," said T.J. Watt. "The potential has always been there, and it's truly showing."
Dupree said making plays last season was all about taking advantage of what was presented to him.
"It's opportunities and also just preparation," said Dupree. "I took my game to a different level. It's just been different moments where we come together as a unit and make stuff happen on the field and off the field."