As expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed the franchise tag on outside linebacker Bud Dupree just ahead of the 2020 NFL league getting underway and that virtually guarantees the team’s former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky will at least play one more season with the team. This week, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was interviewed by Missi Matthews of steelers.com and he indicated that the next goal for the team with Dupree is to get him signed to a long-term contract.
“Bud Dupree has always been a priority,” Colbert told Matthews. ‘You know, we were able to use the franchise tag and Bud understood that going into the process and our message has been consistently, ‘Hey Bud, if we use the franchise tag, our goal is to still sign you and get you locked up as a Steeler for the rest of your career.’ And that’s what we’ll continue to try to do.
“We understand a little bit better as to what are our restrictions are going to be from a cap standpoint after having made a couple anticipated moves, which aren’t official yet at this point because of some of the circumstances, obviously, that we’re working under. But again, Bud always was a priority and he’ll continue to be a priority as we move forward.”
None of what Colbert said about Dupree and the organization wanting to get him signed long-term is a surprise as that’s consistently been the team’s motto for quite a while when it comes to players they use the franchise tag on. Now we’ll wait and see if Colbert and company can accomplish that goal.
Currently, Dupree is scheduled to earn $15.828 million in 2020 as a result of him receiving the franchise tag from the Steelers. The team now has until July 15 to get Dupree signed to an extension. If they can’t, Dupree would then have to play under the franchise tag in 2020.
A new deal for Dupree is likely to average more than $16.5 million and include 2020 earnings that total out at more than $20 million. A little more than a year ago, then-free agent edge-rusher Za’Darius Smith signed a four year, $66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers and that deal included a $20 million signing bonus, a first-year base salary of $1 million and another $1.25 million in possible 2020 earnings. The first two years of that deal he signed allowed him the opportunity to earn up to $34.5 million.
Dupree registered a career high 11.5 sacks in 2019.