There was some hope that the Seattle Seahawks would be able to re-sign Carlos Dunlap, but the team is now facing competition inside the NFC as the pass rusher is visiting the Panthers. Despite releasing Dunlap earlier this offseason, there had been some buzz that the Seahawks would look to bring back the defender at a more affordable price.
“Two-time Pro-Bowl free agent DE Carlos Dunlap is visiting the Panthers today, per source,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on June 13, 2022. “Dunlap is from North Charleston, SC, and the Panthers are his hometown team. They need a pass rusher to replace Haason Reddick, who went to the Eagles.”
Back in March, the Seahawks released Dunlap along with Kerry Hyder and Benson Mayowa as the team transitions to a new scheme with Clint Hurtt taking over as defensive coordinator. The Seahawks defense will feature 3-4 looks more prominently with an emphasis on pass rushers who can also drop in coverage.
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The Seahawks Have Been Leaving the Door Open to Re-Sign Dunlap
The Seahawks have been keeping the door open to re-sign Dunlap depending on what the pass rusher is able to command on the open market. ESPN’s Brady Henderson reported on March 28 that Seattle bringing back Dunlap “isn’t out of the question.”
“An interesting Seahawks tidbit I heard last week and again today: another reunion with Carlos Dunlap isn’t out of the question,” Henderson detailed on Twitter. “He’s not an ideal fit in their new 3-4 front, but they could make it work if the price is right once Dunlap tests his market. Nothing imminent there.”
Earlier this offseason, Seahawks general manager John Schneider admitted the team was open to re-signing Dunlap but hinted that the pass rusher may not be an ideal fit within the new defensive scheme. Dunlap could still be utilized as a situational pass rusher if he rejoins Seattle for 2022.
“Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed that Carlos Dunlap could return to team after being cut earlier. ‘We’re keeping the door open to bring him back because he’s a good pass rusher,’ Schneider said,” The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta tweeted on March 29. “But one factor is a 3-4 means the ends will have to play more special teams.”
Dunlap Signed a 2-Year, $13.6 Million Contract With the Seahawks in 2021
Seattle pulled off a mid-season trade with the Bengals for Dunlap in 2020 and the two-time Pro Bowler immediately emerged as the team’s best pass rusher. Dunlap signed a two-year, $13.6 million contract with the Seahawks last offseason but struggled to find the same consistency in 2021.
The veteran defender finished the season on a strong note notching 8.5 sacks, 35 tackles, 14 quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss and seven pass deflections during his 17 appearances. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been critical of the team’s recent defensive approach admitting the coaching staff has “been a little bit arrogant.”
“We’ve been a little bit arrogant over the years [with] the way we play defense because we’ve been able to do it and go ahead and play what we want to play,” Carroll noted during a March 2 press conference. “It’s not that time right now. It’s time to keep moving and keep growing, and we’ve played the running game so well. I mean, like 3.8 [yards] a carry for the season. That’s pretty darn good in this league, and maybe that’s not the only thing we need to do well.”