Bud Dupree is an impending free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, but the team wants to prevent him from leaving. Ahead of free agency, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes that Dupree will be franchise tagged by Pittsburgh.

The Steelers drafted Dupree in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Kentucky. Over the course of his first four seasons in the NFL, Dupree was inconsistent as an edge rusher for the defense. Altogether, Dupree combined for 20 sacks and two forced fumbles in his first four years.

As he entered the final year of his rookie contract, Dupree knew he was going to have to compile a productive season to remain in Pittsburgh. It’s safe to say that Dupree delivered as he put together a career year in 2019.

This season, the former first-round pick notched a career-best 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Following the best season of his career, the Steelers are making it a priority to keep him beyond 2020. Kevin Colbert, the GM of the Steelers, spoke about Dupree’s future with the team recently and seems determined to keep the Kentucky product.

Despite the team’s plans, Pittsburgh may have no choice but to use the franchise tag on Dupree. Unlike some teams, the Steelers are limited financially. As a matter of fact, Pittsburgh is the only team that currently is over the cap this offseason.

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Given the current market for edge defenders, Dupree could command a decent contract in free agency. Instead of letting him test the open market, the Steelers would rather place the franchise tag on Dupree.

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