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Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree wants more money added to his franchise tag

Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who has until Wednesday to work out a long-term contract with the Steelers, wants more money to be added to his franchise tag tender he signed this spring.

According to the NFL Network, Dupree is filing a grievance with the NFLPA to be paid like a defensive end rather than an outside linebacker. The tender Dupree signed was for $15.8 million. The franchise tag tender for a defensive end this year is $17.78 million.

The decision came after Tampa Bay pass rusher Shaq Barrett accepted Tampa Bay's franchise tender on Friday, but filed a grievance to be paid like a defensive end rather than a linebacker.

The Steelers designate their edge rushers as outside linebackers in their 3-4 scheme because they can drop into coverage as well as rush the passer. Dupree and his agent will argue that he rushed the passer on the vast majority of his snaps in 2019 and therefore should be paid as a defensive end.

There is precedent for players and owners to meet in the middle on such matters. Earlier this spring, the Ravens and Matthew Judon, who also is designated as an outside linebacker in their scheme, came to terms on a $16.8 million one-year tender if he doesn't sign a long-term deal by Wednesday.

Dupree didn't take a hard-line stance with the Steelers when the possibility of being tagged loomed in December. In an interview the subject of Le'Veon Bell's negotiating tactics were discussed and Dupree said he would take a different approach.

"Just come to work and hopefully work out something in the meantime," Dupree told the Post-Gazette. "I feel like that's something you can work out while you're here rather than not sign the deal at all."

 

Dupree, who left CAA Sports in February only to re-sign with them a week later, could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Filing a grievance isn't as hard-line as holding out or certainly skipping a season as Bell did in 2018, but the relationship between the two sides could be a bit more contentious going forward.

Dupree, who is entering his fifth season after being the No. 22 overall pick in the 2015 draft, is coming off his best season to date, He had a career-high 11 1/2 sacks in 2019. In his first four seasons, Dupree has 31 1/2 sacks in 70 career games.

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