The New York Giants are set to embark on their most important offseason in recent memory. The decisions made by general manager Dave Gettleman this spring will be critical in determining whether Big Blue can continue confidently on their current path, or if they’ll have to press the reset button once again. With that in mind, let’s examine the potential free agents that could propel this team to playoff contention.
Next up, let’s look at Pittsburgh Steelers edge defender Bud Dupree.
Drafted 22nd overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Dupree is a six-year veteran with 39.5 career sacks and 231 career tackles. The Kentucky product became a full-time starter by his third season, and established himself as a high-end pass rusher by his fifth. In 2019, Dupree broke out with 11.5 sacks, and he had eight sacks last year in just 11 games played. In fact, one could argue this past season was even more impressive than his star-making 2019 campaign, as he had the same number of pressures (28) in five fewer games. At 6’4 and 269 pounds, Dupree is stout against the run as well. He has an average of .77 tackles-for-loss per game as a starter. While typically healthy throughout most of his career, Dupree did suffer a torn ACL that cost him the final five games of the 2020 season.
Dupree’s production is definitely impressive over the last two seasons, but it’s important to remember he played second fiddle to All-Pro T.J. Watt. He rarely had to face double teams, and the Steelers’ penchant for blitzing boosted his sack totals, too. Dupree would immediately become the ace edge rusher on the Giants, so it’d be unrealistic to expect him to replicate his Pittsburgh numbers.
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Still, Dupree’s strong run defense and pass rushing ability would keep him on the field on all three downs. He would instantly become one of Big Blue’s most relied upon defenders, and stabilize an outside linebacking corps that currently has no proven starters. Dupree would be a natural fit in coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense, having already been in Pittsburgh 3-4 scheme. He’s not very good in coverage, but New York should be more than willing to work around that given his strength in other areas.
Spotrac estimates Dupree’s market value at $18.2 million annually. That’s true number-one pass rusher kind of money, which would make him the seventh-highest paid EDGE player, just behind Von Miller. The Giants could certainly afford to sign him, but it would also mean not resigning one of their own pending free agents or not addressing any of their other needs, such as cornerback or linebacker, until the draft.
Should the Giants be Interested?
If New York either isn’t able or chooses not to retain Leonard Williams, then Dupree could be someone they look to sign instead. It wouldn’t be an exact one-to-one replacement, as they play different positions, but Dupree could still step in and fill that void in production. His torn ACL should concern New York, so they’d have to do their homework on his rehab progress before investing significant cap space.
Dupree shouldn’t be a priority free-agency target for Big Blue. But if their first plan of action, which appears at this point to be resigning Williams, falls through, then Dupree could make for an intriguing alternative.