SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks released veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap after the sides could not agree on a contract extension that would soften the blow of a $14.1 million salary cap hit.
Dunlap was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati midway through last season, but will now get a chance to test free agency.
Dunlap, 32, was a major boost to Seattle’s pass rush following his arrival from the Bengals. He appeared in eight regular-season games for the Seahawks with five sacks and 14 quarterback hits. He was the spark for a Seattle pass rush that was among the better units in the league over the second half of the season.
But his salary for 2021 was always going to be a point of contention, especially with Seattle tight against the salary cap. When the trade was made, Seattle agreed to let Dunlap test free agency if an extension could not be reached.
“Seattle trade helped me grow in many ways. Still would love to play in front of the 12s, experience Seattle when things are open, but this is what it is right now. The Passion will continue,” Dunlap wrote.
If Seattle can’t find another option in free agency, it will be the third straight year the Seahawks will go into the season with questions about their pass rush. Before the 2019 season, the Seahawks acquired Jadeveon Clowney from Houston to bolster the unit. Last year, Dunlap became the answer after Seattle’s defensive front struggled for the first half of the season.
Before being traded last season, Dunlap 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.
But Dunlap had grown unhappy with his situation in Cincinnati and how he was being used by the Bengals coaching staff. Just before the trade, Dunlap briefly put his house for sale on social media. In his social media post on Monday, Dunlap noted the house in Cincinnati is officially listed and he’s “about to lower the price.”