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Predicting the fate of Bud Dupree and the impending franchise tag deadline

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With the July 15th deadline about 24 hours away, will there be any last-minute changes?

Cincinatti Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In a recent article by Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report, they offered predictions for every franchise-tagged player in the NFL coming into the July 15 deadline. With bud Dupree recently filing a grievance with the NFL as to whether he should be classified as an outside linebacker or defensive end, there is a little hope the two sides will see eye to eye in order to get a deal done before it is too late for the 2020 season. Here is what Moton had to say on the subject of Dupree:

Bud Dupree signed his $15.83 million franchise tender, but he filed a grievance for classification as a defensive end as opposed to a linebacker, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport also noted Dupree isn’t close to a new deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though deadlines can spark action, don’t expect the two sides agree on a long-term pact by Wednesday.

The Steelers will likely prioritize a new contract for edge-rusher T.J. Watt, who’s logged three more career sacks (34.5) than Dupree despite playing 23 fewer games than him. The former should command a megadeal in the near future while the latter attempts to establish consistency as a high-volume pass-rusher.

In 2019, Dupree recorded 11.5 sacks, 5.5 more than his previous career high in 2017. Pittsburgh has no incentive to extend him with Watt likely to break the bank. For now, the Steelers should wait to see if the sixth-year veteran can give them an encore performance in 2020.

Verdict: Dupree plays the 2020 season on the franchise tag

Being so late in the game, it’s fairly safe to say the greatest chance for any player would be to play under the tag in 2020. In fact, Moton only predicted one of the 14 players to sign a deal before the deadline — the Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

Also highlighted in the article were two players Moton felt would hold out and not report for the start of the 2020 season. The two players were edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars and defensive tackle Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. In both cases, his prediction was the players would be traded before Week 1. Since the publishing of the article, it has been reported Chris Jones has signed a four-year extension with the Chiefs. This goes to show even the worst of circumstances can turn around into a deal before the July 15 deadline.

As for Dupree, the ruling on his grievance should not affect whether or not he plays under the franchise tag or not but simply how much the Steelers will have to pay him for his services in 2020. While it is believed Dupree signed his contract for that of an outside linebacker, if the grievance goes his way and the Steelers would have to pay the nearly $2 million more. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see what options the Steelers have. But if I were forced to place a wager, I believe Bud Dupree playing for the Steelers in 2020 on the franchise tag would be the safest bet.

Even though the deadline is quickly approaching, the exact specifications for Dupree’s contract will still continue for some time unless the two reach the long-term deal by Wednesday afternoon.

The full Bleacher Report article by Maurice Moton can be seen HERE.