The Kansas City Chiefs have officially cleared room for defensive end Carlos Dunlap on the roster The team has waived tight end Mark Vital, according to the NFL’s transaction wire on July 28.
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Vital was a project of sorts for the Chiefs. After playing in the NBA summer league last year with the Portland Trail Blazers, Vital — who was a starter for the National Champion Baylor basketball team in 2021 and has not played football since middle school — announced on Twitter on August 30 that he would be attempting to play in the NFL.
After being on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad for a few days in September, he was released and then signed to Kansas City’s practice squad, which is where he remained for the entirety of the 2021 season.
Vital being waived likely has to do with the addition of veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap, whom the Chiefs signed to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million on July 28. Waiving Vital cleared a spot on the roster to bring in Dunlap.
Chiefs Add to Pass Rush Unit
Dunlap, 33, detailed the process behind signing with the defending AFC West champions to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
“It’s been a whirlwind trip. I met with coaches last night & started looking at film around midnight,” he said, which Anderson shared on Twitter. “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 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.