BY Art Thiel 07:11PM 10/28/2020

Thiel: Unhappy Dunlap makes Seahawks happy

Benched in Cincinnati, DE Carlos Dunlap, one of the NFL’s top pass rushers, was available for cheap. The Seahawks made a deal for a fix desperately needed. But not for Sunday.

DE Carlos Dunlap is No. 2 on the Bengals’ career sack list. / Bengals.com

Since NFL trade rules precluded Pete Carroll from immediately talking about DE Carlos Dunlap until his acquisition from the Cincinnati Bengals was formally completed Monday afternoon, reporters had go about finding the story a different way.

So, coach, is DE L.J. Collier living up to expectations?

Putting his response through the Carroll words-to-truth translator app: Not so much.

“Well, in the sense that he’s playing 39-40 plays, that’s a good amount of play for a guy really getting going for the first time,” was what Carroll said directly on Wednesday’s Zoom conference. “He’s playing hard, playing tough, he’s working his tail off.

“The throwing game came out real quick last week and we got a minimal amount of pressure. We like to see him be able to get clean, get free in the backfield a couple more times, but I’m pleased with how hard he’s working.”

Anytime Carroll’s compliments are limited to hard work, it’s trouble. Hard work is the minimum baseline for any professional athlete. To do otherwise in the NFL is to end up tackling one’s couch on Sundays. The goal is to do well.

Included among Collier’s 39 snaps Sunday in the 37-34 overtime loss at Arizona was a single recorded stat, a tackle for loss. That modest production is hardly a primary reason for Seattle’s first defeat of the season. But it is why the Seahawks busted a move for a D-lineman Wednesday, six days ahead of the NFL trade deadline.

The Seahawks are on track to be the worst defense in NFL history, so much so that the league may have to switch measurement tools from yards to light years.

Later Wednesday, Carroll explained that the other end, Benson Mayowa, has been overworked after the injury loss for the year of Bruce Irvin in the second week.

“Losing Bruce was a big deal to us,” he said, “because we knew he was an accomplished rusher. Both him and Mayo had been productive on the teams they come from.

“(The trade) will really help Benson a lot, just to be able to keep us fresh. We know that if we can keep Benson fresh, he really can be effective.”

The Seahawks are also missing to injury two other ends, rookie second-round pick Darrell Taylor and veteran Rasheem Green.

“We’re still developing, unfortunately,” Carroll said. “Six games into it, going on seven, that’s where it is, and we’re gonna get better.”

But not in time for Sunday’s home contest with the San Francisco 49ers, the defending NFC champs, who have learned to play with a limp, one-armed and copious blood loss, to a 4-3 mark.

Coach Kyle Shanahan cannot wait to get to an empty Clink and unleash his offense full of deceit, chicanery and illusion on a once-formidable adversary that has regressed to near-unrecognizability. Particularly without Dunlap, who has played his entire 11-year career in Cincinnati. He won’t have passed enough covid-19 tests in Seattle by Sunday to be eligible.

In six starts, Collier, 25 and the Seahawks’ No. 1 draft 1 pick in 2019, has five solo tackles, a sack, three QB hits, three TFLs and a pass defensed. Mayowa, 29 and also with six starts, has 11 solo tackles, two sacks, four QB hits, two TFLs, three passes defensed and recovered a fumble.

At 31, Dunlap (6-6, 285 pounds), acquired for the tokens of non-playing C B.J. Finney and a seventh-round draft choice in 2021, will be eligible in his first game Nov. 8 in Buffalo. The Bengals’ No. 2 career sack leader with 82.5, including a team-high nine last season, Dunlap doesn’t appear to be too far along in the downside of his career.

In 2019, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 42nd best player on their annual top 101 players list. He had the highest overall PFF grade of his career at 89.7, with 50 total pressures, two forced fumbles and four batted passes. He had the best run-defense grade of his career.

An All-America selection at Florida, Dunlap was part of the 2010 draft class from which the Seahawks took SS Earl Thomas sixth and LT Russell Okung 14th in the first round. The Bengals took Dunlap with the 54th pick in the second round. Six spots later, the Seahawks took WR Golden Tate.

He earned back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2015 and 2016, first with 13.5 sacks in 2015 and eight sacks with 15 pass deflections in 2016.

But things were not going well this year with the Bengals. Under coach Zac Taylor, the Bengals were 2-14 in his first season last year — although they barely lost, 21-20, to the Seahawks in the season opener — and are 1-5-1 now with No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow at quarterback.

Shedding big veteran contacts from over-30 players like Dunlap makes sense for the Bengals, particularly when he complained loudly about his demotion to the bench this season. He started the first four games before being a reserve the past three, playing 59 percent of the snaps.

It also makes sense for veterans to want to play for win-now teams like the Seahawks. Dunlap was mad enough to help induce a trade. Sunday after the Bengals’ 37-34 loss to Cleveland, he tweeted, then deleted, that his Cincinnati home was for sale:

~6000 sqft city view with huge balcony. 4 bedroom. 4.5 bathroom. In one of the best school districts for sale. Do your market analysis and make me offer. Serious inquiries only with proof of funds!

Owner is willing to sell furnished or unfurnished!

— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) October 25, 2020

Near the end of the game Dunlap was caught by TV cameras arguing with an assistant coach on the sidelines:

So Taylor ordered that Dunlap not show up to practice this week because the club was indeed going to trade him. After getting word Wednesday morning, he posted a video of himself removing the nameplate from his parking spot at the practice facility.

A small bonus in the deal for Seattle is that Dunlap’s contract runs through 2021 (next year will cost a non-guaranteed $11 million), meaning he may not be a rent-a-player. By trading Finney and his $2.5 million against the cap, they get some relief from Dunlap’s $4.89 million salary, according to overthecap.com.

But he won’t be a help this weekend. The Seahawks will be aided only by the notion that Jimmy Garappolo isn’t Kyler Murray.


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YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Dunlap isn’t Jadeveon Clowney but is probably the best available option right now for D-Line helip. Between him and Damon Harrison the loss of Clowney and Bruce Irvin is a little better.

    • art thiel

      Dunlap will definitely help, and Harrison has to get in shape to reduce snaps for Reed and Ford, who were gassed at the end of the AZ game.

      • Chris Alexander

        I think just about everyone on the defense was “gassed” at the end of the game – which makes sense since Arizona ran 81 plays on offense, including 34 on their last 4 possessions (TD, FG, missed FG in OT, game-winning FG in OT).

        But the defense also had a pretty long “break” before those last 4 drives, only lining up for a singe snap (which resulted in the Diggs INT) between the 2:59 mark of the 3rd quarter and the 6:44 mark of the 4th quarter – during that 11:15 of game clock, Seattle’s defense was on the field for 0:08.

        I get that there wasn’t a preseason but 6 games into the season, it still seems like a lot of players aren’t yet in “football shape.”

        • art thiel

          A 3-man rotation for the interior tackle position is no way to go through an NFL season. Hence, Snacks, however blubbery he became on the couch. Your 81-play observation says much about what happened in OT.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Any news on Jamal Adams being available for Sundays game?

    • art thiel

      He didn’t practice Weds, so it’s lookin less likely.

      • 2nd place is 1st loser

        I guess my follow up question is. It’s going on 3 or 4 weeks that he’s not played. Could this be an injury that keeps him out for most of the year or is there something else that the Hawks just aren’t revealing? Not a conspiracy theorist, but should there be a tad bit of skepticism about his true status because they’ve haven’t really said much other than he’s not practicing. Perhaps I’m missing something. Hawks spent a ton of capital on this guy, hopefully he gets back out there sooner than later.

        • art thiel

          Groin injuries are slow to heal and easy to re-aggravate. Carroll really wants him for the final two games in December.

          • antirepug3

            Yes, been there three times…once during football, once during rodeo and once stretching and strengthening of all things. The longest took nearly three months to heal.

      • Mister Tacoma

        Talk me off the edge Art. I’m having Percy Harvin flashbacks.

        • art thiel

          Adams just had a physical injury. Harvin had mental health issues. Adams is a solid dude. No analogy.

  • Chris Alexander

    For those that are interested in the cap implications of the Dunlap trade . . .
    (initial #s from OverTheCap.com; the math is mine)

    Finney’s contract details:

    Finney had a base salary of $2.5M this season which works out to $147,058.82 per week ($2.5M divided by 17). Weekly checks are guaranteed each Tuesday so even though Finney isn’t on our roster anymore, we still pay him this week.

    Trading him saves Seattle $1,323,529.41 this season (i.e. the value of his 9 remaining checks after Sunday).

    There is $1M in dead money on the books for next season, but the $3.5M in base pay ($3.1M) and roster bonuses ($400k) in 2021 is gone (which also would have been the case if Seattle released him after the season).

    In total, including his signing bonus, Seattle paid $3,176,470.59 for zero snaps from Finney.

    Dunlap’s Contract details:

    2020: $7.8M base ($458,823.53 per week), $500k in per-game roster bonuses ($31,250 per game), $500k workout bonus (presumably already paid).

    2021: $10.1M base, $500k in per-game roster bonuses, $500k workout bonus

    The Seahawks are responsible for a total of $4,410,661.77 this season (9 weeks/games) and $11.1M next season (if they retain him on his current contract terms).

    Net Impact on Seattle’s Cap:

    Subtracting the BJ Finney savings ($1,323,529.41) from what Seattle will be paying Dunlap ($4,410,661.77) means Seattle added a net total of $3,087,132.35 to their payroll via this tradewhich basically eliminates most or all of their remaining cap space (and then some, depending on which site you pull your info from).

    Technically, teams can go over the cap during the season – although they’re not supposed to – as long as they are under the cap on the last day of the current league year.

    Note: The official rule says “by the first day of the new league year” but I think that it’s easier for non-lawyers, i.e. us fans – to understand the way that I phrased it.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for the capology. It’s an important element because the Seahawks now have no flexibility under the cap for injury replacements, and we’re not at midseason. They can always restructure veterans’ contracts (or cut someone who has no guaranteed money), but it’s a precarious position.

      • Chris Alexander

        Yeah. Depending on which site you get your numbers from, Seattle will either have about $600k left under the cap or will be over the cap by as much as $2.x million after Dunlap’s contract officially hits their books (they have an exemption until after he clears the COVID protocols early next week).

        My money is on them trading Hollister (hopefully for another defensive player who makes less $$) and talking to RW3 about converting some of his base salary into a bonus to clear a little room.

        • art thiel

          Not a bad plan. They’re going to to have to make room for draftee Parkinson soon anyway. AZ was a nice showcase for Hollister.

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          Google formally is now paying a fantastic payment of 179/hour and finest item is per week pay-out….adsa… No special conditions of age limitation or particular computer skills so that you might try also. I received $20K in 2 weeks. You can check your eligibility through this ==================== http://www.beast4.com ..

  • Husky73

    Jason Chorak is available.

    • art thiel

      We need to move on from the Huskies honor roll.

      • Husky73

        OK, no more Huskies…….However, Scott Kessler is a possibility.

  • Alan Harrison

    Too bad Takk McKinley is turning out to be injury-prone with ATL, otherwise, he’d be a nice pickup. He was terrific in college and might still be, but if he couldn’t make it under Dan Quinn, so… Which brings me to: does Ken Norton’s skill set include coaching up players to outdo themselves (needed for Flowers, Collier, etc.), or do they already have to be Bobby Wagner/Jadaveon Clowney/Jamal Adams to succeed in the system?

  • antirepug3

    Well, “…his offense full of deceit, chicanery and illusion…”didn’t work on a Seattle defense that finally showed up big today. Except for those two scoring drives by the 49ers…that is how good leads are blown and the other team can end-up winning.