Steelers News

As Doubts Rise, A Reminder That Bud Dupree Isn’t Going Anywhere (Whether You Like It Or Not)

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Bud Dupree isn’t going anywhere. Given the nature of the 11th-hour number crunching that has been going on both here and elsewhere, I’ve found that many people are reconsidering the plausibility of the Pittsburgh Steelers retaining the five-year veteran outside linebacker, given how costly it will be to the rest of the roster.

One caveat before we move on, the reality is we don’t know quite how costly it will be yet, because we  don’t yet know whether or not the Steelers will be able to restructure contracts unhindered by the 30 percent rule. Whether or not that is the case makes a fairly substantial difference, something I’ll be looking at tomorrow.

But with the news yesterday that the league extended the deadline for teams to tag players until after the NFLPA voting has concluded on the Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal—in other words, until after teams know under which CBA they will be doing business—I thought it was worth reminding.

The original deadline of 4PM on March 10 had already been extended to the same time on March 12. Now the deadline it at a second before noon on Monday, roughly 52 hours before the new league year begins and all teams instantly become bound by the rules of whatever CBA is in place, and must be cap-compliant.

Aditi Kinkhabwala wrote on Twitter about the extension that it gives the Steelers an extra few days to tag Dupree—though it also gives them a few more days to work on a long-term contract. She wrote, “last I asked a member of the organization whether a long-term contract or tag was more likely, the answer I got was: ‘I don’t know, but I do know he’ll be here next year’”.

For those who have been following along closely, this shouldn’t come as even the faintest bit of surprise, but I have found that there is been some rethinking over the course of the past week as the realities of the team’s salary cap situation and the potential ramifications of the rejection of the CBA proposal set in.

We have been trying to provide that perspective, helping fans understand that tagging Dupree will all but guarantee that players like Ramon Foster, Mark Barron, and Anthony Chickillo will have to be released. Ordinarily routine, it will be complicated to get restricted free agents Mike Hilton, Matt Feiler, and Zach Banner all under contract as well.

No matter the result of the union vote on the CBA, however, the Steelers’ stance on Dupree has remained consistent and resolute from the beginning: he will be on the team in 2020, whatever it takes, and no past experiences with the franchise tag will dissuade them from utilizing it. As we currently stand, that is the course they are projected to take. Now they just have a few extra days in which to do it.

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