What would you do if you had one of the best pass rushers in team history? You’d pay him of course, and the Bengals should do that with Carlos Dunlap.
Carlos Dunlap is entering the final year of the five-year, $39.3 million contract he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals and he’s like to stay in the Queen City.
The veteran defensive end has expressed interest in remaining in Cincinnati for the duration of his career, citing his status as the team’s career sack leader and his intentions to add to his already impressive 64.5 sack total. The base salary for Dunlap for 2018 is only $7 million, so it is obvious Dunlap is looking for his next payday.
Dunlap has been a consistent force since being drafted in 2010, where he totaled 9.5 sacks and has had at least seven sacks in six of his eight seasons in the NFL. Currently, Dunlap is the 15th highest paid 4-3 defensive end according to overthecap.com, and he will most likely be paid amongst the top five of that group.
Currently, the top five contains the likes of the Giants’ Olivier Vernon ($17 million avg.), the Buccaneers’ Jason Pierre-Paul ($15 million avg.), and the Jaguars’ Calais Campbell ($15 million avg.), all of whom are effective in their own right, but are not on the level of consistency that Dunlap has been on since his rookie year.
The market for 4-3 pass rushers is enormous right now, teams like the Lions and Cowboys have franchise tagged their talented pass rushers (Ezekiel Ansah and DeMarcus Lawrence) in fear of losing them to the grips of free agency. It would be interesting to see how Dunlap and the Bengals move forward in their talks as training camp and the preseason progresses.
The Bengals seem to be planning every contingency for if Dunlap were to sign elsewhere, by drafting young pass rushers like Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson, to keep any semblance of peace of mind. Dunlap’s agent Drew Rosenhaus has been frequenting Bengals’ training camp in hopes of nailing down a deal that would keep the formidable pass rusher in stripes for the foreseeable future.