Steelers Rumors: Bud Dupree Won't Be Given Franchise Tag, Will Enter Free Agency

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree (48) rushes the line of scrimmage during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Coming off a torn ACL, Bud Dupree is going to be a free agent when the new league year begins on March 17.   

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Pittsburgh Steelers informed Dupree they won't be using their franchise tag on him. ESPN's Dianna Russini added that the Steelers aren't going to use the one-year tender on any of their pending free agents. 

It always seemed unlikely that Dupree would receive the franchise tag this offseason. 

Pittsburgh's cap situation didn't make it seem like a viable option for the team. Even after Ben Roethlisberger signed a new contract last week to lower his cap hit, Spotrac estimates the Steelers only project to have $7.9 million available. 

Dupree, who played under the franchise tag last year, would have been guaranteed $18.9 million in 2021 if he was tagged for a second straight year. The 28-year-old tore his ACL in Week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens but told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Brooke Pryor last week that he plans to be ready for the start of training camp. 

A first-round draft pick in 2015, Dupree has spent his entire NFL career with the Steelers. He has recorded 32 quarterback hits and 19.5 sacks in 27 games since the start of 2019.