The Seahawks made a deal they had to make Wednesday morning, acquiring veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Cincinnati Bengals six days before the NFL’s trade deadline.
Here are five things to know about the newest Seahawk:
1. He fills the Seahawks’ biggest need
That the Seahawks were desperate for help rushing the quarterback was obvious to everyone watching their defense. The Seahawks didn’t register any QB hits on Kyler Murray’s 48 pass attempts in Sunday’s overtime loss to Arizona, and the Seahawks have just nine sacks through six games.
They had to do something, and Dunlap was probably the best defensive end available on the trade market. Better yet, the Seahawks gave up only a seventh-round draft pick for Dunlap while also including free-agent bust B.J. Finney in the deal, thus clearing the Seahawks of several million dollars in cap space. That’s a win-win for Seattle.
2. He has an impressive resume
Dunlap is 31 years old. He is listed at 6 feet 6 and 285 pounds. This is his 11th NFL season, and he’s played his entire career with the Bengals.
Dunlap has 82.5 career sacks, among the most in the NFL since 2010. By comparison, Seattle’s four starting defensive lineman (Jarran Reed, L.J. Collier, Poona Ford and Benson Mayowa) have 40 career sacks total.
Dunlap had his best season in 2015, posting 13.5 sacks and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl again in 2016, when he had 8.0 sacks and 15 passes defended.
3. A decade of success
Dunlap had 9.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games in 2019, when Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 89.7, the highest grade of his career. That ranked third out of 104 defensive ends and 42nd among all NFL players.
PFF earlier this year named Dunlap to its all-decade team, calling him “one of the most underrated players of his generation.”
He’s more than just an edge rusher, too.
PFF has also graded Dunlap highly as run stopper, giving him a 86.3 run-defense grade in his career.
That ranks 10th among all defensive ends since 2010.
4. A bitter ending with the Bengals
The Bengals’ new coaching staff seemed to have viewed Dunlap as a distraction for much of the past year, and Dunlap had made it clear he wanted out of Cincinnati.
Dunlap had lost his starting spot and played just 17 snaps in the Bengals’ loss to the Browns on Sunday, during which Dunlap was seen arguing with an assistant coach. After the game, Dunlap took to Twitter to try and sell his home. He tweeted: “6,000 sqft city view with huge balcony. 4 bedroom. 4.5 bathroom. In one of the best school districts for sale. Do your market analysis and make me offer. Serious inquiries only with proof of funds!” The tweet has since been deleted.
The view from Cincinnati is Dunlap’s departure will likely be a net positive for the Bengals.
“On the one hand, it’s distasteful to know that all a player has to do to get what he wants is throw a tantrum,” Paul Daugherty of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote Wednesday. “On the other, divorce is sometimes the best answer.”
Daugherty added: “This was a failure on both sides. Part of coaching is solving problems and that can include issues off the field. Dunlap never had this kind of issue with the previous regime, unless you count his occasional unwillingness to practice and the very occasional plays he took off. He’s not alone in that behavior. Dunlap was a questionable draft pick who will leave here as the team’s 2nd-best sacker, ever. His efforts to curb bullying and his frequent visits to urban schools will be noted. Dunlap was a good dude.”
5. He’s a sack master with a master’s degree
Dunlap left the University of Florida after his junior season in 2009. At the time he promised his mom that he would go back to school and earn a degree. He did that and more.
Dunlap did eventually complete a bachelor’s degree from Florida in family, youth and community services. He then took advantage of an NFL partnership with the University of Miami and in 2016 earned a master’s degree in business administration.
“Going through (the graduation ceremony) inspired me,” Dunlap told the Dayton Daily News at the time. “The speeches that they gave, the process, the excitement from everybody. The excitement for my mom. It was almost more exciting for her than when I got drafted. I was like, ‘Man. Now I finally did something right.’ ”