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As expected, the Steelers will not use the franchise tag on Bud Dupree in 2021

The Steelers former 1st round pick is set to hit free agency next week.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL’s deadline for using the franchise or transition tag approaches on Tuesday, March 9 at 4 PM, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Steelers will not be using the franchise tag on outside linebacker Bud Dupree for a second season.

Although this news should not be a surprise to anyone closely following the Steelers, it does confirm that Dupree is expected to hit free agency at the start of the 2021 NFL league year.

While some felt the $15.828 million paid to Dupree in 2020 under the franchise tag was a bit steep, having to pay 120% of this salary for 2021 made it unreasonable do use the franchise tag again. Had the Steelers tagged Dupree this season, the value would have been nearly $19 million for one season.

Playing on the franchise tag in 2020, Dupree was having another solid year with 8.0 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, two passes defensed, and two forced fumbles through 11 games. Unfortunately, Dupree was lost for the season at the end of the Steelers Week 12 game against the Baltimore Ravens with an ACL injury.

Although the Steelers are not using the franchise tag on Dupree, they still have the ability as the only team who can work out a deal in the next six days before the legal tampering period kicks off on March 15. Even after this time, Dupree could sign with the Steelers if the offer is right, but other teams would have the ability to get into the mix.

If Dupree has indeed played his last snap for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there will be no players left on the Steelers’ roster from the 2015 draft where Dupree was selected as the 22nd overall pick.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, contract statuses, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.