PITTSBURGH — When the Steelers picked up the 2019 fifth-year option on linebacker Bud Dupree back in the spring of 2018, many fans screamed bloody murder.
After all, how could the team pick the option for $9.2 million on a player who, to that point, had 14.5 sacks in his first three seasons?
We all know how that turned out. Dupree followed up a solid 2018 season with a breakout year in 2019, setting career highs across the board for tackles (68), sacks (11.5), tackles for a loss (16) and quarterback hits.
He became so valuable, the team is now considering its options on ways to keep him in Pittsburgh before the free-agent period begins in March.
There will be no similar questions with All-Pro T.J. Watt. It seems a no-brainer the Steelers will want to pick up the fifth-year option on Watt before the May 30 deadline. After all, Watt has produced 34.5 sacks in his first three seasons, the most of any player in team history in his first three NFL seasons, including an AFC-best 14.5 in 2019 as he earned first-team All-Pro status.
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