The Seahawks are not likely to keep Carlos Dunlap as he will be owed $14 million in 2021. But he might be money well-spent for Seattle next year. Let me ask you this, what value might Seattle get by signing another player or another three players for that $14 million? Would they be as good as Carlos Dunlap?
When Dunlap came over from the Bengals and started playing for the Seahawks in week 9 of 2020, he made the entire defense better. Sure, he had some injury issues and actually missed week 14 and hobbled a bit into the last part of the season and into the playoffs. But he made a massive difference not just because of his own ability but how he took the pressure off of other Seahawks.
Carlos Dunlap with the Seahawks
In the seven games the Seahawks played before Dunlap came to Seattle, the Seahawks gave up an average of 28.4 points a game. In the next nine games, Seattle gave up an average of 24.9 a game. If one throws out the first game Dunlap played with Seattle when he was still trying to work his way in and learn the system and Seattle lost to the Bills 44-34, then Seattle gave up 19.4 points a game with Dunlap as a Seahawk.
Sure, some of this had to do with Jamal Adams getting healthy too. But Carlos Dunlap made a huge difference on the other talent along the defensive line. Before Dunlap’s acquisition, defensive tackle Jarran Reed had 1 sack in 2020. After Dunlap was acquired, Reed had 7.5 including Seattle’s one playoff game. That cannot be discredited.
While Dunlap would be expensive this coming season an NFL team needs to spend money at some level. Pass rush can be a massive reason for a team’s success. Assuming the Seahawks keep Dunlap and second-year pro Darrell Taylor who missed all of 2020 comes in and contributes a bit and Jarran Reed is as good as he has been with a good defensive end then Seattle should have a good pass rush.
Plus, the Seahawks will have Jamal Adams to bring pressure too. He could get to 10 sacks next year.
The point is while Dunlap is good on his own he also makes the Seahawks around him better. Seattle has a better defensive because Dunlap is on the team. Without Dunlap, maybe Seattle falls back to pre-Dunlap 2020 levels and that could mean the team ends up being 8-8 with the way the offense finished last year. This means missing the playoffs and maybe Seattle looks to make changes which means Russell Wilson actually gets traded after the 2021 season.