Denver Broncos free agent options if Von Miller is not back

Possible Denver Broncos free agent target Bud Dupree. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Possible Denver Broncos free agent target Bud Dupree. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos, Bud Dupree
Denver Broncos possible FA target Bud Dupree. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos are about a month away from having to make a decision one way or the other on former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller.

Up to this point, many in Broncos Country have tried as hard as possible to avoid the topic or just believe that someway, somehow, Miller would re-work his contract with the team to remain a Bronco for life.

While there is still the possibility of that happening, there is also a possibility that the team would decline Miller’s contract option (which, frankly, seems likely) and let him hit free agency. That means the Denver Broncos could be in the market for pass rushers in free agency, even after Bradley Chubb’s Pro Bowl campaign in 2020 and Malik Reed’s fine season in relief of Miller.

Even considering Reed’s strong season in 2020, the Denver Broncos would undoubtedly need to pursue upgrades through free agency should Miller get away.

Fortunately for them, there are a ton of options that would make sense, and teams have barely started making salary cap cuts up to this point.

Let’s take a look through the top free agency options, which won’t include Buccaneers star Shaquil Barrett because does anyone really think he’s coming back to Denver?

Denver Broncos top targets at OLB in 2021 free agency

48. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 28. 55. Age. BudDupree

Bud Dupree didn’t get off to the hottest start with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a first-round draft pick in 2015, but he showed steady improvement over the course of his first three years with the team.

The Steelers picked up Dupree’s fifth-year option and they have seen tremendous fruit in their investment in the former Kentucky Wildcat, who has really blossomed over the last couple of seasons into one of the better all-around edge players in the NFL.

Dupree has 19.5 sacks, 32 QB hits, and 56 quarterback pressures over his last 27 games. He tore his ACL in the 2020 season and coming off of injury, who knows what his free agent market will be like?

Despite some thoughts to the contrary, Dupree doesn’t seem likely to take a huge discount to stay with the cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers.

At the age of 28, Dupree still has plenty of good years ahead of him. Teams will be understandably leery of the knee injury from this past season, but there is no doubt that if he is at full strength, he would be a tremendous fit opposite Bradley Chubb.