Carlos Dunlap has been one of the more vocal leaders in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, that vocality has turned hostile and signals that the end is near.
Carlos Dunlap was selected by the Bengals in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. Since his selection, he has been a vital piece of the Bengals’ defense. In 154 games, the long-time cornerstone has recorded 82.5 sacks, just one sack away from the Bengals all-time sack leader, Eddie Edwards.
Unfortunately, Dunlap has failed to find his spot in the new regime’s plans. Lou Anarumo’s defense has him playing more of an outside linebacker role, rushing from a two-point stance. Carlos has complained that he’s “not a linebacker,” but Dunlap has only dropped into coverage six times this season.
Through six games, he only has one sack and three QB hits. On top of that, Dunlap has shown poor effort in the run game, racking up only 18 tackles. When Lou Anarumo rebuilt his defense this summer, he built it to stop the AFC North’s run-heavy offenses.
Where it went wrong for Carlos Dunlap
While Carlos is one of the Bengals’ top pass rusher, his effort and dedication to the game have been lacking this season. Unfortunately, Dunlap isn’t putting the blame on himself, he’s putting it all on the coaches.
Before the week five game against Baltimore, Dunlap voiced his frustrations with the coaching staff following his demotion on the depth chart. The following week, he saw limited snaps against the Colts and had no effect even when he was in the game.
Dunlap once again voiced his frustrations and went on Instagram live to discuss what is going on behind the scenes. While the live session turned into a meaningless rant, Dunlap took it one step further by posting a picture of the depth chart.
Where the Bengals go from here
It’s absolutely clear that Carlos Dunlap wants out of the orange and black. He does not trust Zac Taylor and company and is doing everything in his power to get out of Cincinnati.
The only options on the table are a trade or to release the veteran defensive end. With his public frustration, the Bengals have lost all leverage in trade negotiations.
At best, the club would get a fourth or fifth-round pick. At this point, the front office has to be calling every team in the league to see what they could get for the veteran. Could the Raiders, whose defensive coordinator is former Bengals’ coordinator Paul Guenther, be interested? What about Mike Zimmer in Minnesota who just traded Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens?
If Cincinnati cannot find a trade partner, their best bet would be to cut Dunlap. If they release Dunlap before the 2021 season, the Bengals would save $11.1M. That’s a lot of money that could be used towards building a formidable offensive line for Joe Burrow or resigning players who have a future in Cincinnati.
This situation needs to be resolved quickly or else Zac Taylor could risk that “culture” that he has harped on since coming to Cincinnati. Dunlap has always been a vocal leader, and his vocality could be the detriment of this Bengals team heading forward.