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Pittsburgh Steelers using franchise tag on Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree, Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed a franchise tag on linebacker Bud Dupree, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Dupree is coming off of a breakout 2019 campaign in which he played every game and racked up 46 tackles, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and a couple of fumble recoveries, making him one of the most interesting pass rushers heading into free agency.

However, barring a trade, it doesn’t look like the Steelers are letting him go anywhere.

Dupree, who played his collegiate football at the University of Kentucky, was originally selected by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd pick overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.

He appeared in every contest during his rookie season, finishing with 26 tackles and four sacks. Injuries then limited Dupree to just seven games in 2016, but when he was on the field, he was impressive, totaling 24 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

As a result of Dupree’s production in limited action that year, there were some rather big expectations for him heading into 2017, but he ended up being a fairly significant disappointment, registering 40 tackles, six sacks and a fumble recovery.

The 27-year-old did not show much—if any—improvement in 2018, as he recorded 42 tackles, 5.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown, and as a result of his lackluster output, many wondered what the future held for Dupree in Steel City.

Obviously, he answered those questions with a bang in 2019, enjoying the best season of his career.

The Steelers will have until July to reach a long-term deal with the Macon, Ga. native.