RENTON, Wash. – Carlos Dunlap made it clear he wanted out of Cincinnati and got his wish.
The Seattle Seahawks hope by getting Dunlap out of Cincinnati, they’ve landed an answer to help solve their underperforming defense.
In dire need of defensive help, the Seahawks acquired Dunlap from the Bengals on Wednesday. Cincinnati announced the trade, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he needed to wait before making a comment about the deal.
But he did acknowledge the issues with Seattle’s pass rush and the need for it to improve.
“It’s critical to develop your rush so it can complement with the rest of your game to get on the edge and force it and break down the pocket. … It’s huge. That’s nothing new, nothing that we haven’t talked about forever. That element is just a built-in need,” Carroll said.
Dunlap was thoroughly unhappy with his situation in Cincinnati, to the point of briefly putting his house for sale on social media last weekend.
The Bengals found a willing buyer in Seattle. The Seahawks have been in desperate need to solve their pass rush issues that have been a key part of a defense that ranks last in the league in yards allowed and passing yards allowed through the first six games of the season.
Dunlap, 31, has spent his entire career with the Bengals and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 and 2016. He had 46 sacks between 2015-19 and had eight sacks last year for Cincinnati.
“Carlos had many fine seasons here and showed rare physical talent that took him to multiple Pro Bowls,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement. “I will always remember the role he played as a key part of exceptional defenses that we rode to the playoffs year after year.”
This season, Dunlap has started four games and had one sack and 18 tackles. He’ll finish his career in Cincinnati one sack shy of tying the franchise’s all-time mark.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor didn’t speak directly to Dunlap’s trade but said that team building is an ongoing process.
“When you have 70 players in the locker room, there are always going to be challenges and people that are frustrated and you’ve just got to work in conjunction with the leaders on the team to manage all those situations to make sure that it’s being handled exactly how as we, the Cincinnati Bengals, want it to be handled now and going forward,” Taylor said. “I think we’ve made progress in that area every single week that we’ve been here. I think we have a really good group of guys who are starting to see that and handling things the right way.”
Seattle sent backup offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh-round draft pick to the Bengals in compensation. Finney was signed in the offseason with the thought he would be Seattle’s starting center, but was beaten out by Ethan Pocic for the starting job.
The transaction is another deft move by general manager John Schneider as Dunlap is not a rental. Dunlap’s contract goes through the 2021 season.
Schneider sees the opportunity Seattle has at the moment. The Seahawks have the top offense in the NFL through six games with Russell Wilson playing as well as any point of his career.
But the defense has been a massive problem through a combination of injuries and poor performance, and the pass rush has been a core part of the issue.
Seattle has just nine sacks through six games. The Seahawks didn’t record a QB hit on Arizona’s Kyler Murray in last Sunday’s 37-34 overtime loss.
The lack of pressure up front and problems in the secondary have led to Seattle giving up 368.7 yards per game passing, worst in the league.
Seattle believes Dunlap will be a boost because of his ability to line up in multiple spots at defensive end and be a three-down player. While it seems unlikely Dunlap will play this week, the Seahawks could end up adding Dunlap, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Rasheem Green and Mychal Kendricks to their defense in the next couple of weeks.
Adams still missing from practice
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams was expected to return to practice on a limited basis, his first time on the field since straining his groin against Dallas on Sept. 27.
But when practice rolled around Adams was not out there, leading to more questions about whether he will be able to return to play when Seattle hosts the 49ers on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
“He’s going to be practicing in a limited fashion for the first time today, and so we’ll see what that means and see how it goes,” Carroll said before practice. “And tomorrow (Thursday) will be a really important day for him, as well as Friday. We’re going one day at a time, and we’re mixing him in in the preparation with the thought there’s a chance to (play), but we’re gonna just have to wait and see how he does.”
During the two-plus games he saw action, Adams was a playmaker all over the field, with 18 solo tackles and two sacks, which remains tied with Benson Mayowa for the most on the team.
Note: Seattle had only one healthy tailback available for practice — rookie DeeJay Dallas. But Carroll did not rule out when he spoke to the media via Zoom before practice that each of the three injured tailbacks — Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer — could return for Sunday.
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