Just a couple days into camp, it looks like Dunlap and Mike Brown are talking about an extension. Is this serious momentum towards a new deal?
There are several Bengals players up for extensions this season, but few are more valuable than Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has been a crucial member of the Bengals since he came to the team in 2010. Now, after the Bengals have squeezed surplus value off his rookie contract and first extension, he’s finally ready for a payday.
Now, one of the big storylines from camp is whether Dunlap will get an extension before the season starts. During Bengals camp yesterday, reporters noted that Dunlap was speaking with owner Mike Brown. Dunlap’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was also in town and at camp. Rosenhaus appeared to be engaged in the conversations with Dunlap and Brown – he posted a picture of himself with Dunlap and Brown on Instagram. If the three are already having conversations about an extension, it is definitely possible Dunlap could receive a contract before the start of the season.
Dunlap’ recent performance certainly merits a large contract. His first three seasons in the league were nothing to frown at, but he’s only improved since then. Over the last five years, Dunlap has been a model of consistency for the Bengals. He has not had a season with fewer than 46 tackles since 2013, nor a season with fewer than 7.5 sacks. In 2015, he recorded 13.5 sacks – a career high. Dunlap has stated that his goal this season is to break that career high, which is a definite possibility.
If Dunlap continues to play as well as he has, he will be in line for one of the richest extensions in football for a defensive end. The top end contracts currently pay around $15 million, like Calais Campbell of the Jaguars. Other elite rushers come in a little lower, like Everton Griffen at $14.5 million or Cameron Jordan at $11 million. Olivier Vernon leads the way at $17 million a year, but I don’t expect Dunlap to get that kind of money from the Bengals.
Entering his age 29 season, a 4 year extension for Dunlap seems very reasonable. If the Bengals only give Dunlap 4 years instead of 5 or 6 years, they will probably have to pay up a little bit. A good extension for Dunlap would be something like 4 years, $60 million – paying him $15 million a year like an elite defensive end. Anything over $50 million for 4 years would be reasonable. Hopefully, with Rosenhaus in town, the Bengals and Dunlap can work something out to keep him in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future. The quicker, the better.