Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: OLB Bud Dupree
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Unless something changes in the next nine hours, it’s looking very unlikely that Bud Dupree will have a long-term deal in place before next year, when he hits free agency. That puts him in another position to have a career year without the comfort and stability of a new contract.
The ultimate financial goal of every NFL player is to sign lucrative long-term deals that pay them a lot of money. Dupree, from appearances, doesn’t look likely to be one of the players who accomplishes that goal, and he only has hours remaining for his chance in 2020.
Having been franchise tagged by the Steelers back in the Winter, Dupree signed his tag just before the draft, having since field a grievance arguing that he should be given the defensive end tag rather than the linebacker tag, the latter paying less.
Tagged players can only be signed to multi-year deals in the season in which they are tagged up to July 15, for…whatever reason, frankly I don’t know the logic behind it, and I’m not sure there is any. But today is July 15, and there are no indications that a deal is imminent.
In fact, while granted that this has been a very unconventional offseason that has hurt teams’ ability to do business, the reality is that we haven’t even heard anything about developments as far as contract negotiations go. It seems rather clear that talks are at a standstill.
And if there is no progress being made now, that is very unlikely to change by March. The team tried the franchise tag with Le’Veon Bell twice and it didn’t get them anywhere. Perhaps Dupree is looking for more guarantees than the Steelers are willing to give. Or they’re simply far apart on money.
Whatever it is, assuming no deal is reached, this puts the onus back on Dupree to have a great season. Not that I think he wouldn’t be trying to anyway. I do believe he genuinely wants to be a great player and to win games and championships and to be a part of that success. But he wants to make money doing it along the way as well.