Carlos Dunlap’s future with the Bengals is beginning to look shaky
After an apparent demotion ahead of week five, Carlos Dunlap’s future with the Cincinnati Bengals isn’t as certain as it once was.
After a zoom press conference with reporters on Thursday, Carlos Dunlap revealed that he was demoted on the depth chart. Filling in for the long-time starter will be Carl Lawson, a surging fourth-year player. The decision comes just before a big AFC North matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
Lawson, primarily known as a pass-rusher, has stepped up his game in a big way this season. Proving his ability in the run defense no doubt played into Zac Taylor’s decision to insert him into the starting lineup.
Overall, this should help all parties involved. Dunlap is 31, on the brink of 32, and is showing some signs of slowing down. Utilizing him on passing downs only should allow the Bengals to get the most out of him.
Carlos Dunlap’s future with the Bengals is no sure thing
There is still a lot to learn about Carlos Dunlap’s demotion. Is this a one-week experiment? Is it a tactic to motivate him? Whatever the case may be, it’s important to not make judgments on the situation too quickly. However, it does raise some important questions, both about Dunlap’s future and the franchise’s.
For starters, if this is a permanent move, does Dunlap remain in stripes until the end of his contract? As things stand, the star defensive end is slated to carry a cap hit of $13.5M next season. That’s entirely too much to dish out for a situational pass rusher if that’s indeed how Cincinnati plans to utilize him moving forward.
The contract could be re-worked or the team could opt to move on all together, saving over $11M along the way. That money could go a long way in locking up his replacement, Lawson, who is slated to become a free agent once the year is up.
There’s no certainty that Dunlap will even want to continue with the organization. He was clearly frustrated with the decision, referring to it as “madness” at one point. It’s hard to blame him, as he’s spent 10 years with the club, sticking with them through the ups and downs.
For WhoDey nation, these are uncertain times. Many of the long-time cornerstones are beginning to see their careers in the orange and black come to a close. As the season wears on, Dunlap’s situation, along with a number of others, will be important to keep an eye on.