If the Steelers Tag Bud Dupree, Hopefully They Learned from Prior Mistakes


By G.Stryker

Bud Dupree is a free agent this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers led the league in forcing turnovers and sacks last season. If they are trying to keep that type of consistency, they have to seriously consider tagging Bud to ensure the success of their top 5 defense. But if the Steelers do tag Dupree, they better have learned from their prior mistakes.

The cap numbers for franchise and transition tag linebackers this year are projected to be just under $16M and $14M respectively. Since Dupree will be 27 years old this season, he is most likely expecting to get a long-term contract, and since this will be his first contract after his rookie contract and 5th year option has expired, he is in his athletic prime so his production should lead to a lucrative deal. The Steelers may have trouble signing Bud to a long-term contract, and if that is the case, they can still tag him to keep him with the team, and hopefully work out a long-term solution.  

Since the franchise and transition tag numbers are so close, it would not make much sense using the transition tag. The transition tag gives any team the right to offer a contract, and the Steelers would have the right to either accept that contract and retain Dupree, or refuse the contract, he leaves, and the Steelers get no compensation in return. Since the Steelers will be very close to the cap if they tag Dupree, they will not be able to match any front loaded contract. A team with a lot of cap space could steal Dupree without having to compete in the open free agency market, and the Steelers then lose a player with no draft picks to show for it. 

If the Steelers franchise tag Bud Dupree, they have to seriously consider what happened when they used the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell. There are two types of franchise tag. The exclusive franchise tag means the team retains the right to that player, and only the team placing the tag can sign that player to a long-term contract. A nonexclusive franchise tag means any team can still offer Bud a new contract, and if the Steelers refuse to match, they then receive two first round draft picks in exchange for losing their franchise player. In 2017 the Steelers placed an exclusive franchise tag on Bell and he waited until the end of preseason to sign his contract. The following year, when the Steelers again used the exclusive tag on Bell, this time instead of waiting until the end of preseason to sign, he chose not to sign at all and sat out an entire year. The Steelers received nothing in return and lost a year of productivity from their top running back.  

Since the standard has already been set that players are willing to wait an entire year if they are not happy with the contract offered by only one team, I hope the Steelers have learned from the Le’Veon situation and decide to use the nonexclusive franchise tag if they choose to tag Dupree. This way, the Steelers will either be able to sign a productive member of their defense to a long-term deal, or let him go while receiving draft compensation. And for a team that currently doesn’t have a 1st and 3rd round draft pick, the nonexclusive option could help the Steelers receive the prime draft capital they have lost in acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick and Nick Vannett.


Should the Steelers resign Bud Dupree? Leave your opinions in the comments below!


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  1. Timm

    February 1, 2020 at 12:26 am

    I say let him walk.He had only 1 good year

  2. John

    February 1, 2020 at 1:56 am

    Keep bud Dupree

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