Steelers unsure if they can afford to bring Bud Dupree back

Last year the Steelers put the franchise tag on linebacker Bud Dupree, and he played out the season on his $15.828 million franchise tag salary. This year will be different.

Citing a lack of salary cap space, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said he doesn’t expect to use the franchise tag on Dupree or anyone else, and he said he’s not sure if the Steelers can work out a contract with Dupree.

“We have to adjust and know that he might be a possibility, he might not be,” Colbert said of Dupree, via SI.com. “Only time will tell with that.”

Dupree tore his ACL in December, and although he said last month that he expects to be ready to go for training camp, it’s anyone’s guess where that might be. Colbert said that until the final salary cap number is known, the Steelers are like most of the league in not being sure how many of their players they can afford to bring back.

“We’re never going to eliminate a great player like Bud Dupree, because we don’t know what Bud’s market is, and Bud doesn’t know what his market is at this point,” Colbert said. “I think that’s pretty common for not only our free agents but the whole free agency group until we get a solid cap number.”