2020 Offseason Questions: Will Bud Dupree Be Successful In Franchise Tag Grievance?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Bud Dupree be successful in his franchise tag grievance to be paid above the linebacker price?

Coming off a breakout season, sixth-year edge defender Bud Dupree was given the franchise tag, which he signed shortly before the 2020 NFL Draft, well before it would have been necessary for him to do so, but it was recently reported that he filed a grievance through the NFLPA to dispute that he should be paid under the defensive end amount, rather than the linebacker amount, which is a difference of a couple million dollars.

The tag amounts are antiquated at this point, and have long been. 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers are far more alike than are 4-3 ends to 3-4 ends or 4-3 outside linebackers to 3-4 outside linebackers. The former are both edge defenders whose principle responsibility is to rush the passer, and increasingly, 3-4 outside linebackers drop into coverage less and less.

The Baltimore Ravens also tagged Matt Judon as an outside linebacker, but the two parties agreed two split the difference between the two tag amounts. Whether fair or not, Dupree may have a difficult time winning his grievance, but the Steelers can agree to pay him more as a token of good faith—including after the July 15 deadline for a multiple-year extension passes.

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