This may sound overly simplistic on the surface, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Seattle Seahawks’ ability to generate a pass rush with its front four improved significantly upon the arrival of former Cincinnati Bengals star Carlos Dunlap.
In just nine games, Dunlap recorded five sacks, 15 QB hits, six tackles for loss, and four passes defensed. His pressure rate was a very impressive 12%. But Dunlap has only one year left on his contract, and he carries a cap hit just north of $14 million. Seattle is not in a particularly great situation with its salary cap and ESPN’s Seahawks beat writer Brady Henderson sees Carlos as a cut candidate... but with a twist at the end.
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap is the most obvious candidate. As good as he was after arriving in a midseason trade from the Cincinnati Bengals — five sacks and six tackles for loss in eight games — the Seahawks can’t afford the $14.1 million he’d count against their cap in the final year of his contract.
Lowering that number with an extension based off his current deal could be easier said than done for a few reasons. Start with Dunlap having already taken one pay cut to facilitate his trade from Cincinnati. As much as he likes Seattle, he might not be willing to sign an extension now that pays him anything less than that — without seeing what his value is on the open market — since it would amount to another pay cut.
He has a $3 million roster bonus due March 21. If he is cut — which seems likely — it would happen before then.
Prediction: Seattle cuts Dunlap and re-signs him at a lower rate.
While I sadly see this as a possibility that the Seahawks opt for the cut instead of a restructure and extension (considering he already got a restructure just to come here), I’m not as sold that the Seahawks will actually get to bring him back at the rate they want. There will surely be other teams who might be very interested in Dunlap’s services, including other playoff contenders. Dunlap has never experienced a playoff win and if expected or perennial playoff teams are also in the mix to sign him, Seattle might just be boxed out.
I’d consider it a real disappointment if the Seahawks either don’t retain Dunlap or don’t get a suitable replacement.
Anyway, happy birthday to Carlos Dunlap! He’s 32 years old today and I hope his gift is not a cut.