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Steelers place franchise tag on OLB Bud Dupree

Dec 1, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree (48) celebrates a sack against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially placed the franchise tag on outside linebacker Bud Dupree, the team announced in a press release on Monday.

Dupree, the No. 22 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 with the Steelers. He set career-highs in quarterback hits (17), sacks (11.5), forced fumbles (four) and fumbles recovered (two). He also recorded four-plus sacks in each of his first five NFL seasons.

The 27-year-old has developed nicely since being drafted out of Kentucky. Pittsburgh’s combo of Dupree and linebacker T.J. Watt combined for 26 sacks this past season. The duo will now be together once more, solidifying the Steelers’ pass rush for the upcoming season.

Pittsburgh entered the offseason with the lowest amount of cap space, per OvertheCap.com, which will likely make this one of their biggest moves. The Steelers also don’t have a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft due to the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick.