Chiefs Sign Top Free Agent Pass Rusher to 1-Year Deal: Report

Carlos Dunlap

Getty Images Carlos Dunlap looks on during warmups in 2020.

The Kansas City Chiefs are continuing their diligence in acquiring defensive line talent.

The defending AFC West champions are signing veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN

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“It’s been a whirlwind trip. I met with coaches last night & started looking at film around midnight,” Dunlap told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. “It’s an exciting time for me and a long time coming.”

Dunlap, 33, entered the league as a second-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. He would go on to play 10 full seasons for the Bengals and earn two Pro Bowl nods in the process before Cincinnati traded Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks on October 29 of 2020. He played the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 season as a member of the Seahawks.

Entering his 13th season in the league, Dunlap has accumulated 96 sacks, 255 quarterback hits, and 117 tackles for loss during his NFL career, according to Pro Football Reference.

The fact that Schefter noted that Dunlap can earn “up to” $8 million with his deal with the Chiefs likely means his contract is incentive-based.

KC Struggled With Pass Rush Last Season

Kansas City’s pass rush unit wasn’t what it needed to be last season.

During the 2021 season, the Chiefs defense tallied 31 total sacks, which ranked 29th in the entire NFL, per StatMuse.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones (86.7) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (70.6) were the only pass rushers on Kansas City’s roster that graded out above a 70 for pass rush by PFF for the season. Defensive end Frank Clark, one of the highest-paid players in Kansas City, registered 4.5 sacks — his lowest sack total since his rookie season — and didn’t record his first sack until Week 8.

That is why gaining help in the edge rush department was of the utmost importance this offseason for the Chiefs, especially with a young secondary in place.

The team drafted defensive end George Karlaftis with the 30th overall pick this offseason. He will help off the edge in a big way in Kansas City. The defending AFC West champions could, however, still use another edge rusher to put themselves in a position to potentially be elite in that department this upcoming season.

Dunlap Linked to Chiefs as Next Destination

PFF NFL insider Doug Kyed in June named one player that each team in the NFL should sign or trade for before training camp began. For the Chiefs, Kyed suggested they sign Dunlap.

“The Chiefs lost Melvin Ingram III to the Dolphins in free agency and are currently set to start Frank Clark and rookie George Karlaftis on the edge,” Kyed wrote on June 29. “They could use another rotational rusher, and Dunlap, 33, was efficient for Seattle last season with a 72.1 overall defensive grade, 15.3 percent pass-rush win rate.”

Kyed then dropped a little nugget at the end of his writeup on Dunlap.

“He’s received interest on the open market and is deciding on the best fit, per a source.”


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