For Steelers, Chris Boswell must fight for job, Bud Dupree could be kept at $9.2M
The start of free agency will be a critical time for two Pittsburgh Steelers players that remain under contract for the 2019 season.
Kicker Chris Boswell and outside linebacker Bud Dupree have unsettled contract situations that will be defined by what the Steelers do – or don’t do – by the middle of March.
Boswell, after making just 65 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2018, is due a $2 million roster bonus. Dupree’s fifth-year option worth $9.2 million will become guaranteed once the new NFL calendar starts March 13.
General manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday he is comfortable with both players returning to the Steelers under their present contracts.
Colbert said Boswell will face competition in training camp, which would assure the kicker of receiving his roster bonus in March.
“We believe that Chris Boswell has the ability to do better than he did,” Colbert said. “He’s already proven that. He set the standard for himself in 2017 as a Pro Bowl player. As a young player, we believe he can find his way out of that, and we will support him.”
The Steelers signed Matt McCrane for the final game of the season when Boswell was placed on injured reserve. Colbert didn’t rule out the Steelers adding a “young kicker” to compete with Boswell in training camp.
Dupree had 5.5 sacks and set career marks with 42 tackles, three passes defensed and an interception in his fourth NFL season. T.J. Watt, the Steelers’ other starting outside linebacker, had 13 sacks in his second year.
The Steelers could try to negotiate a long-term contract with Dupree to lower the $9.2 million salary-cap hit for 2019.
“Bud Dupree had his best year last year,” Colbert said. “Collectively, he and T.J were pretty good. Does Bud still have more? Absolutely. Bud is a starter on a winning team. … From an effort standpoint, it’s not a lack of effort. It’s turning effort into more production. Can he? Will he? We’ll see.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .