4 p.m. today marked the deadline for NFL teams to sign their franchise-tagged players to long-term deals. In Nashville, Derrick Henry signed a four-year deal in the final hour. (Titan Up.) In Cleveland, Myles Garrett agreed to a massive extension to stay on the Browns’ defensive line. In Kansas City, Super Bowl champion Chris Jones signed an extension and promised more Super Bowl rings to come.
But in Pittsburgh, the deadline passed without an agreement between former Kentucky linebacker Bud Dupree and his employer, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dupree was franchise tagged back in April and ownership at one time said they had intentions of locking Dupree down for the long haul, but the clock ran out.
Dupree will now play one more season for the Steelers under the franchise tags terms he already signed. He’s set to make $15.82 million per the league’s scale for outside linebackers, but just last week Dupree filed a grievance arguing he should be paid as a defensive end. He’s doing that because the franchise tag tender on defensive ends is $17.788 million, which is almost two million more in earnings next season if he can convince the NFL he’s a DE and not an OLB.
Either way, it may be Bud’s last year in Pittsburgh. The Steelers can’t make an offer until after this season when he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Dupree ranked ninth in the NFL in sacks last year, so have another good year and someone out there should be willing to pay him whatever he wants.