Steelers expected to franchise tag OLB Bud Dupree

The Pittsburgh Steelers would like to work out a contract extension with Bud Dupree, but here’s why a franchise tag is coming soon.

Bud Dupree’s potential contract extension has been a hot topic among Steelers Nation this offseason. Dupree was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick back in 2015, and after falling short of expectations in his first four seasons in the league, he finally broke out with an 11.5 sack performance in 2019.

The Steelers have the third-worst salary cap situation in the league entering the offseason, and getting a deal done with Dupree would not be easy. Though there is still time to reach an agreement on a contract extension, it looks like a franchise tag is in Bud Dupree’s future.

According to Jenna Laine of ESPN, the Steelers are expected to tag pass rusher, Bud Dupree:

Both Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin have made it clear that re-signing Dupree was a top priority for the Steelers this offseason, but many fans and analysts are split on the notion.

Though Bud Dupree posted his most productive season to date, there are many questions about his 2019 season. Is his current pace sustainable? Was he playing strickly for a contract? Will he continue to produce after he gets paid? All seem to be viable questions.

In addition, Pro Football Focus called signing Bud Dupree a risky maneuver due to his poor pass rush win rate and efficiency. There are also opinions floating out there that Bud Dupree is the beneficiary of a fantastic defensive line that includes 2019 Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt. Though Watt didn’t win the award this year, having two first-team All-Pros along the defensive line is going to help out other players in the front seven.

Most Steelers fans would agree that they would like Dupree to return. However, he’s projected to rake in a massive payday with a new deal. According to Spotrac.com, Dupree’s estimated market value is in the ballpark of $16.6 million per season on his next deal – a number Pittsburgh may not be willing to pay.

Next: Why Steelers must cut Mark Barron and draft a linebacker in 2020

Regardless of what happens with Dupree in the long-term, it sounds like outside linebacker Bud Dupree will be sticking around in Pittsburgh for at least another season on the franchise tag. After that, it’s becoming increasingly likely that he could be searching for a bigger paycheck with another organization.

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