Will Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree receive a new long-term contract at any point during the offseason? It’s hard to say for sure as we sit here in late February but if he does, he’ll have new representation negotiating on his behalf.
According to Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal, Dupree, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent come the start of the new league yer in March, has left CAA Sports and the assumption is now that he’ll sign with a new agency after the NFLPA’s five-day waiting rule has expired. There’s no word yet, however, as to who Dupree will sign with but odds are probably pretty good that it might be Rosenhaus Sports, who just recently signed another soon-to-be Steelers unrestricted free agent, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
It’s hard to say if Dupree switching agencies at this point in the offseason is good news in regard to him potentiality staying with the Steelers. The Steelers are probably hoping to sign Dupree to a multi-year contract in the coming weeks. If they can’t get a deal done with Dupree, they could decide to use the franchise tag on their former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky. Such a tag is speculated to come with a price tag of around $16.266 million.
“The franchise tag is always available to us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said last week of the options the team has with Dupree this offseason. “We’ll never say we wouldn’t use it. We’ll never say we would use it. The first person who would find that out is the player himself. But we’re not at that point yet nor do we need to be. We have until March 10th. We’ll see how things ago.”
Getting Dupree signed to an extension ahead of using the franchise tag on him will be a chore for the Steelers, however. If able to do so, such a new deal would likely save the Steelers a little bit of salary cap space compared to what the franchise tag amount would be.
As Colbert indicated recently, the franchise tag deadline this year is March 10 so we’ll know by then if there’s a good chance that Dupree will remain in Pittsburgh at least through the 2020 season.
Dupree earned $9.232 million in 2019 under the fifth-year option. The former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky set career highs with 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 68 tackles in 2019.