Seattle Seahawks cut DE Carlos Dunlap to save cap space

Seattle Seahawks
(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (43) celebrates with defensive end L.J. Collier (91) after Dunlap sacked Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, left, late in the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-21.

SEATTLE, Wash. — It was announced on Monday morning that the Seattle Seahawks are cutting defensive end Carlos Dunlap after just one successful season with the franchise.

The move is expected to be made to save cap space. Like most NFL teams, the Seattle Seahawks are trying to clear up money to be players in a free-agent market in which multiple key players of theirs are on the open market. That free agent pool includes defensive back Shaquill Griffin, running back Chris Carson, linebacker K.J. Wright and others.

Dunlap, a 32-year-old who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, will be free to sign wherever he wants. In eight games with the Seattle Seahawks, Dunlap was a dominant force on the edge with 14 quarterback hits, six tackles for loss, six sacks and two pass deflections.

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An established veteran nearing the end of his career, Dunlap hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down. Playing under head coach Pete Carroll re-invigorated Dunlap and in many regards, his addition to the lineup sparked a revival of the Seahawks’ defense after falling flat through the early portion of the season. He showed no ill-will toward the Seattle Seahawks organization on his way out, publishing the following tweet earlier today:

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However, letting Dunlap walk should free up approx. $14 million in cap savings for the Seahawks. This money can be used to extend, re-sign, sign or trade for other players during the offseason.

It’s a bit of a puzzling move on the surface because of the defensive impact that Dunlap brought to the table. However, there are plenty of talented players to be had on the free-agent market and $14 million can pay for a plethora of new talent for the Seahawks.

There’s still plenty of time before the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29. The Seattle Seahawks do not have their own first-round pick in 2021 as they traded it in the deal to acquire star safety Jamal Adams. They moved their third-round pick in that same deal, so they have five picks heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. They may move some pieces and/or money to acquire more draft capital, but the Seahawks’ draft history has been shaky over recent seasons.

Cutting Dunlap is just one of the many moving parts for the Seahawks this offseason, but losing that defensive pressure on the quarterback won’t be easy to compensate for. Cutting Dunlap for the cap relief only makes sense if the team is willing to pay to remain competitive this season — Especially with Russell Wilson feuding with the front office.

Only time will tell how the Seahawks front office handles the next few weeks of planning as they prepare for another NFL season.

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