Pittsburgh Steelers: Bud Dupree Files Grievance Over Position Classification
Franchised Steelers pass rusher Bud Dupree filed a grievance last week with the NFLPA to be classified as a defensive end rather than a linebacker, a source told ESPN.
The distinction is worth $2 million under this year's franchise tag, which Dupree signed a little less than three months ago. Outside linebackers get less than defensive ends, and it's not uncommon for there to be a disagreement between EDGE players and their teams.
The Ravens and Matthew Judon were in a similar position this offseason, but met in the middle to avoid any kind of dispute and show good faith, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
According to Next Gen Stats, Dupree played 89 percent of his snaps within 1-2 yards of the line of scrimmage last season. He notched a career-high 11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits and forced four fumbles.
Cleveland Browns: Olivier Vernon Agrees to Restructured Contract
The Browns are now guaranteed to have one of their top pass rush threats back as Olivier Vernon agreed to a contract restructure, per ESPN’s Field Yates.
Vernon was set to make $15.25 million in non-guaranteed money in 2020, but instead will now take home $11 million in guaranteed salary. He can make another $2 million in incentives.
Vernon, 29, tied a career-low in sacks last year with 3.5 after coming over from the New York Giants in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. He never dipped below 6.5 sacks in the six seasons prior. The Browns are hoping for a resurgence this year opposite Myles Garrett, who is reportedly in contract extension talks with the team and first-year General Manager Andrew Berry.
Cincinnati Bengals: Ochocinco Challenges Rookie Tee Higgins
Bengals rookie wide receiver Tee Higgins has some pressure on his shoulders considering he'll be wearing No. 85 on his back.
That's the same number as former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, aka Ochocinco. Johnson was not only a premier producer, but an extravagant entertainer.
True to form, Johnson challenged Higgins when revealing his "Madden 20" rating to the rookie. It's not clear if he challenged him to a race or Johnson thinks he can cover Higgins as a cornerback. "I'll gonna lock you up, man."
Higgins chose the jersey number to honor Johnson, who has spoke highly of the Clemson product who was drafted with the first pick of the second round.