Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Bud Dupree had a disappointing first season in Nashville, but is it time for the Titans to part ways with him already?
According to Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton, they should. Wharton drew up a trade scenario for each team ahead of training camp and suggested the Titans deal Dupree and a 2023 second-round pick to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick.
Here’s Wharton’s take:
Dupree was a complete nonfactor in his first season with the Titans. He totaled 17 tackles and three sacks in 11 games. Even at his best in Pittsburgh, he was a complementary rusher to T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward. Tennessee was reckless and misevaluated Dupree’s talent.
With Chicago in a full rebuild and needing extra draft picks, it should take on Dupree’s contract to effectively buy a mid-round pick. Chicago could then offload Dupree’s deal after the season for a modest $3.2 million dead-cap hit in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
Tennessee would save about $18 million between 2022 and 2023 by trading Dupree compared to cutting him now. The Titans need cap flexibility, justifying the use of a second-round pick to open space for another free-agent swing next year when the cap space rolls over.
Despite Dupree’s struggles in his first season with the Titans, this is a trade Tennessee cannot make, especially when it has them also trading away a second-round pick just to get it done.
For starters, this would leave a huge hole off the edge opposite fellow outside linebacker Harold Landry, as the Titans would be left with a career backup in Ola Adeniyi and an unproven Rashad Weaver, who is coming back from a significant injury, to take Dupree’s spot.
Furthermore, there is hope Dupree will be better in his second season removed from a torn ACL.
The veteran started showing signs of returning to form late last season with three sacks in Tennessee’s last five games (including playoffs). He also recently admitted he didn’t start feeling better about his knee until January.
“I’d say it was in the playoff game [against the Bengals], that’s when things started to really unfold, started feeling a little better,” Dupree admitted. “Then going into this offseason, [I’ve] had a lot of opportunities to go and keep rehabbing and continue on that [road to recovery].”
Tennessee will no doubt hold on to Dupree for at least one more season, but we wouldn’t rule out him getting cut in 2023 if he fails to once again perform up to the standards he set during his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.