The Pittsburgh Steelers have until Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST to get outside linebacker Bud Dupree signed to a long-term contract extension after giving him the franchise tag earlier in the offseason. If they fail to do so, Dupree will have to play under the tag for the 2020 season. In the meantime, however, Dupree has filed a grievance with the NFLPA concerning his franchise tag amount due to position.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Dupree has filed a grievance with hopes that he’ll be paid as a defensive end rather than as a linebacker. The franchise tag amount for a linebacker this year is $15.828 million while the tag amount for a defensive end is $17.788 million.
The Steelers have forever labeled Dupree as an outside linebacker ever since he was selected in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Kentucky. Because of that, it will be tough for Dupree to win this grievance and especially with him being asked to drop some in coverage.
According to our defensive charting stats, Dupree dropped into coverage 7.8% of the time in 2019 and that was down from 18.3% in 2018. That might be the bulk of Dupree’s filed grievance and his best shot at winning it.
In defense of Dupree, however, he’s essentially a defensive end and especially with the Steelers running a lot of four man fronts as part of their sub package. Its understandable why Dupree is filing the positional grievance, but it’s still unlikely he’ll win it.
The Baltimore Ravens and Matt Judon agreed to a compromised salary of $16.8 million not too long ago after he filed a grievance. I could see the Steelers maybe doing the same thing. It’s the right thing to do.
The NFL really needs to combine players such as Dupree and Shaquil Barrett of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into one EDGE position category. Barrett, who like Dupree is wearing the franchise tag this offseason, also has filed a positional grievance with the NFL this offeason, according to Friday reports.
While there is still some time to work something out long-term, Rapoport reports on Friday that Dupree and the Steelers are not close on reaching a deal prior to the July 15 deadline.