Seahawks trade for veteran Bengals pass rusher Carlos Dunlap
The Seahawks are getting their pass-rush help in the form of a trade for two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
Seattle sends offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Dunlap.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the deal was in the works on Wednesday morning. The Bengals confirmed the trade in the afternoon.
We've acquired G/C B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft from the Seattle Seahawks for DE Carlos Dunlap. ⤵
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 28, 2020
The 31-year-old Dunlap, a second-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2010 out of Florida, made the Pro Bowl in both 2015 and 2016. He has 82.5 career sacks, including at least 7.5 in each of the past seven seasons, but has just one sack in seven games (four starts) this season.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Dunlap was known to be unhappy with a diminished role in a pass-rush rotation this season with the Bengals, going so far as to tweet that his house in the Cincinnati area was for sale after a loss to the Browns on Sunday.
Pass rush has been a problem for multiple seasons now in Seattle. The Seahawks had just 28 sacks in 2019, which tied for second-fewest in the NFL, and they are on pace for even less (24) this year with just nine sacks through six games in 2020. One sign of how bad it’s been: Jamal Adams, who plays safety, is tied for the team lead with two sacks this season, and he hasn’t played since Week 3 due to a groin injury.
Finney, meanwhile, was a free-agent signing that didn’t seem to be a fit with Seattle. He has not played a single offensive snap for the Seahawks since signing with the team on a two-year, $7.5 million deal in the offseason. He was expected to be the pick to be the starting center after coming to Seattle from Pittsburgh but lost the battle for the position in training camp to Ethan Pocic.
Including Finney in the deal helps Seattle in two ways. First, the Seahawks get to move on from a signing that didn’t pan out like they were hoping. And second, it clears up needed salary cap space to bring in Dunlap, who carries a cap hit of nearly $4.9 million this year (per Spotrac).
While Dunlap may officially be a member of the Seahawks, it would be at least another week until he could make his debut for Seattle due to the NFL’s COVID-19 intake testing protocols.
Here’s a look at Dunlap from 710Sports.com’s Brandon Gustafson’s piece about potential trade targets for the Seahawks’ pass rush that was published on Tuesday:
Dunlap, 31, has one sack this year and has played fewer and fewer snaps as the weeks have gone on. He’s also been vocal about wanting out of Cincinnati, which has a young, rebuilding team.
Dunlap has 82.5 career sacks, including nine last season. The issue with the veteran defensive end is his contract, as he is signed through 2021 and has a base salary of $10.5 million next year (the deal is worth up to $13.5 million).
The Seahawks can make that work for next year, but it may be tricky to get Dunlap on board this season with the Seahawks having just over $3 million available in cap space, per OverTheCap.
Carlos Dunlap was one of 10 targets I had for the Hawks in my story yesterday. The big issue was cap. Trading Finney, who hadn't played at all, makes that happen. Hawks needed DL help bad and the Bengals needed help at OL. Makes a lot of sense. https://t.co/SrHFqvw05P
— Brandon Gustafson (@TheBGustafson) October 28, 2020