Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher Bud Dupree has filed a grievance with the NFL in hopes that he will be re-classified from a linebacker to a defensive end, thereby earning roughly $2 million more on his franchise tender, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Dupree signed his $15.8 million franchise tender in April, per Chris Adamski of TribLIVE.com. That locks him in with the Steelers for 2020, but Pittsburgh and Dupree can work out a long-term deal as long as it's ahead of the league's July 15 deadline.
If no deal is reached, then Dupree will play the season out on the franchise tag and become a free agent in 2021. A long-term deal doesn't appear imminent, with Rapoport reporting that "the sides are not close."
Franchise tag financials are determined by the average top five salaries at a position in a given year.
The number for defensive ends sits at $17,788,000, per Over the Cap, while linebackers are listed at $15,828,000.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett filed a similar grievance on Friday in hopes of being labeled a defensive end, per his agent Drew Rosenhaus (h/t Rapoport). Barrett signed his tender on Friday, so he will be a Buc in 2020 for at least $15.8 million at the least.
Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Matt Judon might have set the precedent for both Dupree and Barrett. He inked a $16.8 million tender, essentially splitting the difference between linebacker and defensive end money, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
All three players could be better classified as EDGE rather than linebackers or defensive ends, so that may be the route Barrett and Dupree ultimately end up finding themselves on unless they can strike a long-term deal before the deadline.
Dupree, a five-year veteran, is coming off the best season of his career thanks to 11.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 68 tackles.