Steelers won’t let Le’Veon Bell situation keep them from franchise tag

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The Steelers’ last attempt at using the franchise tag didn’t work out as they planned, and that’s an extreme understatement.

But team president Art Rooney II said he won’t let their experience with Le'Veon Bell change their plans with future free agents, including outside linebacker Bud Dupree.

After tagging the running back in 2018, he sat out the entire season before heading to the Jets last year.

“I don’t think that affects the way we think about franchise tags or anything at this point,” Rooney said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We had one, I’ll call it unusual experience, and I think it was that — an unusual experience.”

The Steelers have already said keeping Dupree was a “high priority,” and they are expected to use the tag on him if they can’t reach a deal early.

“When you look around the league, people use the franchise tag, and sometimes it works to help get a contract done,” Rooney said. “Sometimes it’s a short-term solution, but for the most part, it’s what’s helped teams keep players on the field.”

Dupree posted a career-high 11.5 sacks last year, and along with T.J. Watt, gave the Steelers a potent pass-rush tandem again.