Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear during his end-of-the-season press conference that the team would like keep outside linebacker Bud Dupree in the fold this offseason and went as far to say that retaining the services of the former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2020 would a be a “priority.” On Wednesday, Steelers team president Art Rooney II pretty much backed up what all Tomlin had said about Dupree several weeks ago.
“We’d like to have Bud back, no question about it,” Rooney said on Wednesday, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We will do our best to make it happen.”
Rooney said about the possibility of keeping OLB Bud Dupree, who is an UFA: "We'd like to have Bud back, no question about it. We will do our best to make it happen." When told that Tomlin called it a top priority, Rooney said, "I wouldn't disagree with that."
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 15, 2020
None of what Rooney seemingly said on Wednesday about Dupree, however, comes as a surprise and especially with it coming on the heels of what Tomlin said abut the outside linebacker immediately after the 2019 season ended. In short, expect Dupree to remain a member of the Steelers for at least one more season and maybe longer.
It’s reasonable to expect that the Steelers first step in retaining Dupree this offseason will included them placing the franchise tag on him if the two sides can’t agree on a contract extension in the next several weeks. Currently, the franchise tag amount for Dupree this offseason is expected to be around $16.266 million.
The Steelers will need to do a little bit of salary cap massaging ahead of the start of the new league year in March to accommodate a franchise tag charge on Dupree. That pre-new league year salary cap massaging could possibly include the termination of a few contracts of players such as outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, inside linebacker Mark Barron and guard Ramon Foster.
However the Steelers need to go about affording a possible franchise tag amount on Dupree, Rooney, according to a few other media reports on Wednesday, doesn’t appear to be too worried about that part of the process. The Steelers can always attempt to sign Dupree to an extension as the offseason progresses should they first need to use the franchise tag on him to ensure retaining him ahead of the start of the new league year.