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Seahawks make important moves, but it’s all wasted without Carlos Dunlap

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have made smart moves on the offense early in free agency.

However, the earlier release of DE Carlos Dunlap leaves the team in a potentially awkward position. If they are not able to bring him back this offseason could end up largely being useless.

The Seahawks released Dunlap on March 8, and part of the understanding in coming to Seattle was the ability to test free agency. He’s been doing so for a week now, and I believe Dunlap’s earlier words that he’d “love to stay in Seattle as long as they’ll have me.”

It’s fun to get a respected offensive guard, a dynamic tight end who’s not 35, and a cornerback with intriguing upside. But let us never forget where this defense was before Carlos Dunlap and his true number one pass rush talents arrived. Without a Dunlap-type presence, this is the same team that was giving records away like Halloween candy before holding five consecutive teams to 20 points.

Truly, with only a late second-round pick, and a rookie-seasonless Darrell Taylor as the presumed top option, Seattle will find itself exactly where it was one year ago without a signing. In their second seasons, optimism is aplenty for both Taylor and Alton Robinson to be excellent pieces on the line, but nearly everyone on that line - Jarran Reed in particular - have shown that they need a true top threat in order to succeed.

For whatever reason this defense isn’t bad when the pass rush is subpar; it’s dysfunctional.

Fortunately, the younger edge rushers around the league have been snapped up quickly, and more importantly, to teams that could fit Dunlap well, like the Dallas Cowboys. Instead of targeting Dunlap they’ve recently signed Brent Urban and Tarrell Basham, taking them out of the running. Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, JJ Watt, Trey Hendrickson, Denico Autry, and many more have found new teams already.

Of this list, nearly everyone of impact has been claimed except Melvin Ingram and Aldon Smith. Jadeveon Clowney remains, but that feels a bridge that has not been repaired.

Listening to Russell Wilson’s concerns have high on the list this year. But undoubtedly this team learned from last season and will make it a necessity to bring somebody in, lest they risk floundering a half-season away. The benefits to it being Dunlap are tangible; he clearly knows how to thrive in this system, likes the culture, and makes the big plays the defense needs.