FanSided NFL insider names Panthers as good fit for Bud Dupree

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Bud Dupree
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Bud Dupree /
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FanSided’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo named the Carolina Panthers as a possible landing spot for outside linebacker Bud Dupree in free agency.

This is an exciting time of year for NFL fans across the country. Free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft are just around the corner and there promises to be plenty of player turnover where the Carolina Panthers are concerned as they look to take the next step and become a realistic playoff challenger in 2021.

Recent moves made by the Panthers indicate there could be a flurry of activity in free agency. Carolina now has the league’s seventh most salary-cap space available after releasing established veterans such as Stephen Weatherly, Kawann Short, and Tre Boston, with restructuring center Matt Paradis’ deal giving them almost $5 million extra to utilize on other positions of need.

What incomings arrive in Carolina over the next few weeks will shape the future of the franchise. There is the obvious temptation to risk it all in a bid to lure Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, but building other key positional groups will be equally as important if head coach Matt Rhule wants to make a bigger impression in year two of his tenure.

One player that is well worth considering despite his recent injury is Bud Dupree. The outside linebacker is unlikely to be brought back by the Pittsburgh Steelers due to their financial constraints and fills a definite area that the Panthers could use additional reinforcements on a young defense that made some significant strides last time out.

Bud Dupree would be a good fit on the Carolina Panthers.

This is a view that is shared by FanSided’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo, who named Carolina as one of the best landing spots for Dupree when it’s time for the former No. 22 overall selection to choose his next destination in the coming weeks.

"Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule turned Temple and Baylor into contenders at the college level on the back of menacing defenses that consistently got after the quarterback, a blueprint he’s hoping translates to Carolina and the NFL.Prior to his injury, Dupree was viewed across the NFL as one of the game’s premier pass rushers, and if he is fully healthy, he would be an immediate playmaker for a Panthers defense that produced just 29 sacks last season."

It’s hard not to look at Dupree’s output and come to any conclusion other than he’d be a significant addition. He is a ferocious force rushing off the edge and has been around winning teams his entire career under Mike Tomlin that would command instant respect within Carolina’s locker room.

Much will depend on the timeframe regarding his return from an ACL tear that cut his 2020 season short after 11 games. Injuries like this aren’t as complicated to recover from these days. So providing everything checks out from a medical perspective, the Panthers should definitely take a close look at Dupree once the market opens.

Another element that shouldn’t be overlooked is Dupree’s versatility.

He has no trouble putting his hand in the dirt as a defensive end despite turning out as an outside linebacker throughout his time in Pittsburgh. If the Panthers can get someone who is capable of coming from the second level to cause disruption in opposing backfields, it might make all the difference.

Speculation is running wild with potential incomings. But new general manager Scott Fitterer is keeping his cards close to his chest outside of the obvious intentions to secure a long-term upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater.

Whether this ends up with Dupree becoming a Panther remains to be seen. But the benefits are there for all to see.