Titans Re-Sign Ex-Steelers LB in ‘No-Brainer Move’: Report

Ola Adeniyi

Al Bello/Getty Images Daniel Jones of the New York Giants is tackled by Ola Adeniyi of the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 14, 2020.

The Tennessee Titans are keeping the outside linebacker combo of Ola Adeniyi and Bud Dupree together for at least one more season. On Wednesday ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Titans are re-signing Adeniyi to another one-year contract, as per his agents—Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha.

The signing has been described as a “no-brainer move” by Titans beat reporter Ben Arthur, noting the value that Adeniyi provided the Titans last season, both on special teams and in the limited opportunities he received as a pass rusher.

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Both Linebackers Left Pittsburgh in Free Agency in March 2021

Both Adeniyi and Dupree are former Steelers, and both joined the Titans in March 2021. Dupree—a former first-round pick in 2015—signed first, leaving Pittsburgh in mid-March 2021, lured away by a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Less than a week later, the Titans signed Adeniyi to a one-year deal to serve in a reserve/special teams role.

Yet Adeniyi had arguably the more productive 2021 season, in spite of the wide difference in their financial compensation.

Last year Adeniyi earned a $920,000 salary and took up $1 million in cap space, as per overthecap.com. Financial terms of his new contract have not yet been revealed, but one has to expect he has signed a similar deal to the one he had last year. Meanwhile, Dupree is scheduled to earn a $16 million salary in 2022, and will count $19.2 million against the Titans’ salary cap, according to overthecap.com.

That said, the Titans better hope that Dupree, 29, is fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in December 2020. Last season Dupree started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He managed to return in time to play in Tennessee’s first two regular-season games, but went on to miss the next three. Then in November 2021 he landed on the injured reserve list with an abdominal injury.

All together Dupree appeared in just 11 games (with six starts), recording a total of 17 tackles (13 solo), including two tackles for loss, three sacks, eight quarterback hits and one forced fumble, as per Pro Football Reference (PFR).

This as compared to Adeniyi, 24, who played in 16 games and recorded 21 tackles (14 solo), including two tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits, according to PFR. Adeniyi was also very nearly the hero in Tennessee’s overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks in September 2021. Specifically, he sacked Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson for what appeared to be a walk-off safety, but the ball was inexplicably placed at the one yard line, keeping Seattle alive for a few more plays.

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The Steelers Received a Fourth-Round Pick as Compensation for Losing Dupree

It’s worth noting that the Dupree’s disappointing first season with the Titans diminished the value of the compensatory pick that the Steelers received for losing him in free agency. Initial projections indicated that the Steelers could be expected to receive a third-round compensatory pick, but projections made eight months later suggested the pick would be downgraded to a fourth-rounder.

In the end, the Steelers received a fourth round pick (No. 138 overall). As a result, Pittsburgh now has seven selections in the forthcoming draft: its own selections in the first, second, third and seventh rounds, plus the aforementioned compensatory pick; plus a conditional sixth-rounder from Kansas City for Melvin Ingram; plus a seventh-rounder from the New York Jets, part of the Avery Williamson trade, which was consummated on November 1, 2020.

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