5 AFC North free agents the Panthers could target in 2021
By Dean Jones
Bud Dupree – OLB
- 2020 team – Pittsburgh Steelers
Bud Dupree is the latest in a long line of players who jeopardized their potential future income by getting injured whilst competing under the franchise tag. The stud outside linebacker suffered significant knee damage against the Baltimore Ravens in December that is going to need a long period of rehabilitation and is sure to see the player miss a considerable period of time in 2021.
Given how much the Pittsburgh Steelers are up against it from a salary-cap perspective, keeping Dupree around just doesn’t seem like a viable option.
Teams will also be wary of whether the former first-round pick can make a return to his old self. So the Carolina Panthers might be able to get their hands on a premier playmaker at a fraction of the cost it would have taken had he been healthy heading into free agency.
Dupree’s talent is there for all to see. He is incredibly disruptive off the edge and has accumulated 39.5 sacks, 65 quarterback hits, and 54 tackles for loss in 66 career games.
There is no question whatsoever that Dupree represents a significant upgrade on what the Panthers currently possess. But it would be a leap of faith in no uncertain terms due to his torn ACL.
If Dupree can get back to anything like the sort of form we’ve seen from the player when healthy, then it will be a game-changer for whichever team gambles on him. However, he’s expected to miss the first half of 2021, and the Panthers need immediate help.