So much for the term “offseason”, the Bengals certainly have been busy negotiating and offering contracts and extensions. Tyler Eifert, the Bengals first round pick, finally signed on the dotted line on Monday, which means all draft picks have been inked for the 2013 season. Not too surprising since the Bengals wanted to get their rookie class secured before training camp, and the new rookie contracts outlined by the NFL and NFLPA really eliminate holdouts. The more surprising news came when the Bengals announced the extension of defensive end, and 4th year player Carlos Dunlap.
Dunlap, a 2010 2nd rounder from the University of Florida, played just 12 games in his rookie year, but recorded 9.5 sacks, a Bengals record for a rookie, and was one of the highlights of a dismal season. In a rotation style defense, Dunlap has recorded an additional 10.5 sacks since then, and been a dominant presence on the field wreaking havoc on opposing QB’s.
Dunlap also had a fumble return for a touchdown in 2011, late in the 4th quarter vs. Indianapolis in which he showed skills like a nimble punt-returner, putting the Bengals up for good. Most recently, Dunlap returned an interception for a touchdown against Baltimore in the final game of the 2012 regular season. Again, as a rotation guy, Dunlap has carved out a nice career so far with the Cincinnati Bengals, but apparently, Mike Brown and company have bigger plans for the 4th-year man.
Dunlap might be a rotational end, but he signed a contract loaded with starter money, and the implications are there for Dunlap to be a starting defensive end for the Bengals in 2013. Dunlap’s contract is a 6-year deal, worth $40 million, in which he slated to make $18.7 million by training camp next season. Not bad for a guy who was going to make $630,000 in 2013.