All is quiet with the Pittsburgh Steelers with less than a month to go before training camp will supposedly start. It’s been even quieter for the team when it comes to contracts as absolutely no deals have been consummated since the team signed their undrafted free agents. Not even one of the team’s six 2020 draft picks has yet to be signed. All this inactivity also means that franchise tagged outside linebacker Bud Dupree has yet to sign a contract extension and with two weeks remaining for him to do so, there’s still no sign that he ultimately will.
Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST officially marked two weeks remaining for teams to sign their franchise tagged players to contract extensions. Unless the NFL pushes that deadline date back due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Steelers have two weeks left to get Dupree signed to an extension that would virtually guarantee him remaining in Pittsburgh past the 2020 season.
After placing the franchise tag on Dupree in mid-March and shortly before free agency got underway, the Steelers first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Kentucky signed it soon thereafter. That tag came with a price tag of $15.828 million and the Steelers have claimed all offseason that their goal this summer is to sign Dupree to a long-term contract. Such an offer would likely need average around $17 million in annual earnings and include a 2020 total amount of around $26 million for the outside linebacker to accept it.
So, will the Steelers ultimately get Dupree signed to a contract extension prior to the July 15 deadline? It certainly doesn’t look good for that to happen and especially with so much uncertainty still about future year league-wide salary cap amounts due to the potential fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Most teams seem to be sitting on their contract writing hands right now due to that uncertainty and that’s not a bit surprising.
Dupree also isn’t the only franchise tagged player this offseason that remains unextended. In fact, after a quick search of the 15 players that were tagged by their respective teams earlier in the offseason, I do not believe even one of them has been signed to an extension with two weeks remaining until the deadline to do so. Somebody let me know if I missed one.
Should the league push back this year’s deadline date to the start of the regular season, or at least until some sort of plan concerning future salary cap numbers can be established? I think that could potentially be a good idea but both the NFL and NFLPA would need to sign off on that and quickly. Would, however, pushing back the deadline this year make a huge difference. Probably not. After all, not many, if any, of the 15 tagged players will sign extensions even if the deadline were pushed back. If, however, pushing it back allows for one team to re-sign one of those 15 players after being able to plan better after future salary cap number plans are established, I say it’s worth doing that.
I reached out to Dupree via Twitter to see if he’d update his current situation with the Steelers and see if any contract extension talks have been taking place and not surprisingly, I’ve yet to get a response. With the NFL now being in the heart of the dead period of the offseason, I doubt Dupree will be tracked down for an interview in the next two weeks. Hopefully I’m wrong in that assumption/speculation. In the meantime, we’ll continue counting down the remaining 14 days until the deadline for teams to sign franchise tagged players to extensions and be on the lookout for that date to potentially pushed back.
At best, the odds of Dupree signing a contract extension this summer have probably been 50/50 and that was before the team selected outside linebacker Alex Highsmith in the third-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With Highsmith now in Pittsburgh and me having a pretty good idea as to what Dupree’s looking for monetarily in an extension, those odds have obviously decreased some in the last several months and probably even a little more since the pandemic took over. Do I now think Dupree will ultimately sign an extension prior to whenever the deadline winds up being? My gut tells me he won’t and even if the July 15 deadline winds up being pushed back.
Stranger things have happened, however, and deadlines can spur action. Even so, the only action I’m expecting right now is me updating everyone of Dupree remaining unextended by the time the deadline passes.