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The Pittsburgh Steelers won't be franchise tagging Bud Dupree in 2021, informing the veteran pass rusher the organization will allow him to test the free agent market. Dupree was franchise tagged last season by Pittsburgh and was paid $15.8 million. 

Dupree is one of the most underrated pass rushers in the free agent class, as his 19.5 sacks over the past two years are the eighth-most in the NFL. After coming off a career-high 11.5 sacks and 68 tackles in 2019, Dupree's numbers dipped to eight sacks and 31 tackles in 2020. Dupree finished with 28 pressures and 12 hurries for a Steelers defense that finished first in the NFL in sacks (56) and were the only team with more than 200 pressures in 2020.

Pittsburgh couldn't afford to keep Dupree on the roster with just over $3.6 million in available salary cap space and a salary cap not expected to significantly increase. Dupree was essential toward the success of T.J. Watt, who led the NFL in pressures (61), sacks (15) and was tied for third in hurries (19). Watt was the only player in the NFL with 60-plus pressures and 15-plus sacks in 2020. 

The Steelers also have high hopes for pass rusher Alex Highsmith, a 2020 third-round pick who finished with 48 tackles, two sacks, and 12 pressures in just 437 snaps in his rookie year. Highsmith is expected to take on an expended role in Pittsburgh's defense if Dupree doesn't return.

Teams that run a 3-4 and need a pass-rushing linebacker will find great value in Dupree, who has the ability to thrive outside of Pittsburgh. Dupree will be one of the top free agent pass rushers on the market.