The decision the Pittsburgh Steelers have to make when it comes to Bud Dupree has been well documented this offseason. They can keep Dupree in a variety of ways, one being with the franchise tag, or let him walk via free agency.
There is no easy way around this decision, and Tuesday, when Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert met with media at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, was the first day teams could place the franchise tag on players.
The Steelers didn’t place the tag on Dupree, and they might not use the tag at all. See Colbert’s response via Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.com:
Colbert on tagging Dupree: no tag today.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) February 25, 2020
In the future? “Time will tell.”
Just when you think you have an idea what the organization is thinking, Colbert then speaks out of the other side of his mouth regarding Dupree and his desire to have the former first round draft pick remain in Pittsburgh for the duration of his career.
This from Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert didn’t give much away about Bud Dupree’s franchise tag situation, but said “we want Bud to be a Steeler for life”— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 25, 2020
The Steelers were faced with a similar situation prior to the 2019 season when they had to choose whether to pick up Dupree’s 5th year option on his rookie contract. Up until that season Dupree had been a huge disappointment. He responded with 11.5 sacks last season, by far the most of his young career.
Many are wondering if Dupree played well just because the money was on the line. The traditional “contract year” performance with a let down bound to happen once he secures a lucrative in some fashion.
The Steelers have time to make a decision on Dupree, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier. Colbert says the team might not use the tag. Does that mean they will try to sign him to a long term contract? Or does that mean they are preparing themselves for life without the former Kentucky pass rusher?
Colbert, and the Steelers, aren’t tipping their hands in hopes of remaining in good standing with Dupree, but the time will come when they won’t have that luxury. When a decision will have to be made. In the meantime, expect more vague answers surrounding Dupree’s future in Pittsburgh.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they scout the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, prepare for NFL Free Agency and dive into 2020 NFL Draft prep.