Carlos Dunlap Released by Seahawks; Saves $14M in Salary-Cap Space

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (43) during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks released veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap on Monday, a move that Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network noted will save the Seahawks $14 million in cap space. 

Dunlap took to Twitter to thank the Seahawks as news of his release broke:

Carlos Dunlap @Carlos_Dunlap

Still Grateful. Thank You Seahawks and to the #12 ‘s 🙌🏾! House in Cincy is officially listed now lol, and about to lower the price.

According to Brady Henderson of ESPN, the Seahawks are "expected to attempt to re-sign Dunlap at a discounted rate once he tests his market."

He would have accrued a $3 million bonus were he still on the roster by March 21. 

Field Yates @FieldYates

Upon trading for Carlos Dunlap, Seattle re-worked his contract that included a $3M roster bonus due on the 5th day of the new league year. Dunlap heads to free agency as a still capable pass rusher and the Seahawks clear $14.1M in cap space to work with. https://t.co/luf09m7qDz

Gregg Rosenthal @greggrosenthal

Carlos Dunlap will be one of the only players released that a team actually wanted to keep.

Bob Condotta @bcondotta

I can confirm the Seahawks are releasing Dunlap. It was basically part of the deal with Dunlap when he arrived that Seattle would let him test the market if the two sides couldn't agree on a longer-term deal. He had 1 year left at $14.037 million for 2021. https://t.co/sEBjQroWYw

Paul Dehner Jr. @pauldehnerjr

The release of Carlos Dunlap was always going to happen no matter what team held his rights. His contract was far too lopsided to suggest any other outcome. (And, if for some reason you need to hear this, no, Dunlap will not be returning to Cincinnati)

Dunlap, 32, registered 32 tackles (eight for loss), six sacks and 18 quarterback hits between the Cincinnati Bengals and Seahawks in 2020 (he notched five sacks and 15 total quarterback hits in his nine games in Seattle, which included the playoffs). 

The Seahawks acquired him midseason from Cincy for offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick. After the season, Dunlap said he would like to return to Seattle, per Henderson:

"I'd love to stay in Seattle as long as they'll have me. It was very clear what I was coming here to do and what my timespan would be, so now it's a conversation and I'm open and welcoming for it. You guys already know how grateful I am to be here. They've taken great care. I think it's a great organization for vets, although I feel young and fresh like a young player as well. I feel like I've got a lot of ball left and I would like to finish it up with an organization like this.

"My two goals are still a Super Bowl and 100 sacks, and I have not accomplished either one of them. I haven't won a playoff game. I think we have the pedigree here to do all of that next season, and I would love to be a part of it."

The two-time Pro Bowler has posted 87.5 sacks in his 11-year career, though he has just one season posting double-digit sacks. His consistency has been his calling card—he's posted seven or more sacks in a season eight times.   

He'll likely receive interest on the market, though it sounds as though the Seahawks will make a strong push to bring him back on a discounted salary.