Carlos Dunlap could once again be on the move.
After playing in just eight games with the Seattle Seahawks, Dunlap was released by the team, they announced on Monday. This move is very much steeped in salary cap considerations, as the Seahawks save $14.1 million in cap space by cutting Dunlap.
The Seahawks are expected to attempt to re-sign the two-time Pro Bowler at a discounted rate once he tests the free agency waters. While they can’t afford Dunlap at his old $14.1 million salary, he was still their best option in terms of edge rushers down the stretch last season.
None of Dunlap’s salary for the upcoming season was guaranteed, and the Seahawks also avoided having to pay him a $3 million bonus if he’d stuck on the roster through March 21st.
Dunlap spent a decade with the Bengals and piled up 82.5 career sacks (12th among active players) and a couple of Pro Bowls but the relationship between team and player soured beyond repair last season as the team struggled and Dunlap strangely saw very little playing time.
The 32-year-old was acquired by Seattle midway through the 2020 campaign via trade with the Cincinnati Bengals, who received a seventh-round pick and a reserve center in return. Dunlap came in and did what they brought him in for, putting up five sacks in just eight regular season games with the team.
Despite the team’s early playoff exit last season, Dunlap was still very excited about him and the Seahawks’ future prospects for success.
“I’d love to stay in Seattle as long as they’ll have me,” Dunlap said after their Wild Card loss to the Rams. “It was very clear what I was coming here to do and what my time span would be, so now it’s a conversation and I’m open and welcoming for it. You guys already know how grateful I am to be here. They’ve taken great care. I think it’s a great organization for vets, although I feel young and fresh like a young player as well. I feel like I’ve got a lot of ball left and I would like to finish it up with an organization like this.
“My two goals are still a Super Bowl and 100 sacks, and I have not accomplished either one of them. I haven’t won a playoff game. I think we have the pedigree here to do all of that next season, and I would love to be a part of it.”
Dunlap’s confidence in the team’s postseason prospects may have waned in the wake of the news surrounding the team’s franchise quarterback Russell Wilson and his supposed preference to leave Seattle. Currently the Seahawks, who won the NFC West at 12-4 last season, are back in third on 888sport’s NFC West odds table with +250 NFL odds to win their division, sitting behind the San Francisco 49ers (+187) and Los Angeles Rams (+175).
Despite having been on the team for just half the campaign, Dunlap still finished fifth on Seattle’s defense with those five sacks in 2020, behind only defensive end Benson Mayowa (6.0), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (6.5), and safety Jamal Adams (9.5). When you’ve got a safety leading the team in sacks across an entire season, you’ve got some serious issues.
Though they reportedly will attempt to get Dunlap back, there’s no guarantee there, and the four guys they still have under contract at the defensive end position combined for just nine total sacks last season. The savings are big for the Seahawks, who reportedly had only about $8 million in space before the move, but the Seattle pass rush is really hurting for some quality players.
Along with Dunlap, the likes of Mayowa and Bruce Irvin are a couple of other 2020 Seahawks that are floating out there in free agency, though it seems that Seattle will need more than last year’s scraps to improve this crucial unit.