Chargers' Bud Dupree signing is bad news for 2023 draft steal

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

The LA Chargers have been busy upgrading their roster following the NFL Draft. First, they signed free agent wide receiver D.J. Chark to a one-year contract. Now, they've gone out and signed veteran pass rusher Bud Dupree.

Dupree met with the Chargers late last week, so it didn't take long for a deal to materialize. Jim Harbaugh is a master at the art of recruitment and he clearly sold Dupree on the idea of teaming up with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, both of whom were surprisingly kept as LA fought to get under the cap.

Typically, post-draft signings are of the one-year variety. However, Dupree inked a two-year contract with the Chargers. It's worth $6 million with a max value of $10 million, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Dupree is a fantastic depth addition for Harbaugh and Jesse Minter's defense, but we can't help but wonder what it means for 2023 second-round pick Tuli Tuipulotu, who flashed oodles of promise in year one.

Chargers' Bud Dupree signing isn't great news for Tuli Tuipulotu

Let's get one thing clear: Tuipulotu is going to play. Given Joey Bosa's injury history, he could once again have a prominent role on the edge. If healthy, though, it stands to reason Bosa will get the lion's share of the snaps. In his last full season in 2021, Bosa played 77% of the snaps.

The same can be said for Mack, who's been a workhorse since he arrived via trade in 2022. In two seasons with the Chargers, Mack has logged snap shares of 81% and 82%, respectively. Even with Bosa missing eight games last season, Tuipulotu had less than a 75% share of the pie.

It's fair to wonder what Tuipulotu's share will look like now that the Chargers have three grizzled veterans patrolling the edge. Dupree's contract terms aren't groundbreaking, but he brings a decorated resume to LA, including 53.0 sacks, 69 tackles for loss, 89 QB hits and 12 forced fumbles.

Dupree has an extensive injury history himself, but he played 16 games and 69% of the snaps for his hometown Falcons last year.

Tuipulotu showed too much potential as a rookie to ride the bench, but Dupree could hurt his chances of breaking out in year two.

He played all 17 games and finished with 4.5 sacks, which tied for seventh amongst rookies, 8 TFL, 12 QB hits and 51 pressures. Perhaps more impressive is that he posted a 88.4 run-defense grade and 34 third down stops against the run on 339 run-defense snaps, per Pro Football Focus. He was drafted as a two-way defensive end, but that's still wildly impressive for a 21-year-old rookie.

Many Chargers fans hoped one of Mack or Bosa would be gone so that Tuipulotu could get all the snaps he can handle in year two. Not only are both back, but now Dupree has entered the fold. While Tuipulotu will play plenty, he's going to play a lot less than what fans envisioned when the 2023 season ended.