Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree signed his franchise tender a little less than three months ago, but earlier this week he filed a grievance with the NFLPA to be classified as a defensive end rather than a linebacker, a source told ESPN.
Designated as an outside linebacker, Dupree would make $15.828 million playing on the franchise tag. As a defensive end, Dupree's one-year salary would increase by $2 million to $17.788 million. The two sides also have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, and though there have been talks, nothing is imminent, per the source.
Dupree is technically an outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 base defense, although he frequently lined up on the line of scrimmage as an edge rusher -- which would be considered a defensive end. Dupree can argue the tag designation based on his usage.
According to Next Gen Stats, Dupree's defensive positioning at the time of snap last season was determined to be "EDGE" -- within 1-2 yards of the line of scrimmage -- on 827 of his 929 defensive snaps played last season (89%). That's the most snaps as "EDGE" among all Steelers last season and second to only Arizona's Chandler Jones among all NFL players.
Dupree is the second linebacker to file a grievance to be reclassified, joining Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett.
With Dupree playing under the franchise tag as a linebacker, the Steelers currently have $5.67 million in cap space.
Dupree, 27, initially signed his tender on April 23, just a few hours before the NFL Draft. A 2015 first-round draft pick, Dupree became a regular starter in the final three years of his rookie deal and put together a career season after the team picked up his fifth-year option for the 2019 season.
Anchoring the outside linebacker spot opposite T.J. Watt, Dupree racked up a career-high 11.5 sacks along with 16 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hits. He also forced four fumbles.
He has 200 tackles, 31.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 1 interception in five seasons.