What will the future hold for the CBA? Will the future be now? The NFL and NFLPA are expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the current offer on the table, which the NFL has already approved, and they have also stated that this is the only proposal that they will be considering. They argue they must know under what rules they will be operating when the new league year starts, so if the NFLPA does not agree to the proposal they have already signed off on, they will move forward under the final year of the previous CBA.
The owners were hoping that the players would have already voted (and approved) their previous proposal by now. The players elected to wait, with the plan for there to be a vote held after they meet with the NFL.
To that end, the league has taken the step of delaying the time period during which teams can use the franchise tag, pushing it back two days. It was scheduled to begin tomorrow, and run through the 10th of March (roughly a week prior to the start of the new league year), but it will now start two days later, and of course end two days later.
At least for the time being, this doesn’t really affect the Pittsburgh Steelers. General manager Kevin Colbert has already said that while they would have no hesitations in using the franchise tag if it came to that with pending free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree, they would take their time and pretty much exhaust all other avenues before using that as a last resort.
Dupree is coming off a career year in which he recorded 11.5 sacks with four forced fumbles. He also registered 16 tackles for loss, with a healthy number of tackles overall. All of those numbers represent career-high marks, nearly doubling his previous single-season best in sack total.
At a premium position, and still ostensibly in the prime of his career, it is wisely supposed that Dupree will be making bank this offseason. He could probably reach or eclipse $16-18 million per season pretty easily on the open market, but the Steelers have no intentions of letting him do that.
If they are unable to work out a long-term extension with Dupree by the time the deadline for tagging him is set to expire, the expectation is that they will tag him, and continue to negotiate with him. The Baltimore Ravens are also in the same boat with Matthew Judon. All this really changes is that they will have two more days to make the decision than they otherwise would have.