Nine-year veteran Carlos Dunlap is another Bengal that could be on the move before the trade deadline.
Dunlap is signed through the 2021 season, but Cincinnati is a selling position at 0-8. Getting rid of some of their best players is the true way to embrace the rebuild they are staring down. He fits that bill, and may fetch a good return.
Since coming into the league in 2010, Dunlap has recorded 73.5 sacks and 434 combined tackles. He also has 18 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. Before this year, he had not missed a single game 2013.
Needless to say, with pass rushers at a premium during this busy trade deadline, there are plenty of teams who may want to do business for Dunlap. We will take a look at three of them.
New England Patriots
Last Thursday, the Patriots traded away Michael Bennett for a surprisingly low return. They received a 2021 seventh-round pick, that could possibly turn into a sixth at best.
Now the Pats are short a veteran defensive end. That is where Dunlap comes in. The biggest problem with this potential trade is how much the Bengals will want in return. To trade him in the conference to a team like the Patriots, they may seek a second-rounder and more.
As stated earlier, he is signed through 2021 so New England would also need to get creative with their cap room. It is possible they could restructure his contract, but that is unlikely.
With all of that being said, though, the Patriots could still use him. They essentially traded away Bennett to prove a point and nothing else. He was suspended by the team for getting into an argument with the defensive line coach. They promptly traded him away to show that people who do not fall in line completely are not welcome.
It is hard to know whether or not Dunlap would fit into the strict culture there. But he would be an immediate upgrade, and could provide some veteran leadership.
Dunlap deserves to play for a winner, but the NFL will have to wait and see if the Patriots are willing to pay the price.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers’ pass rush is already pretty scary after the offseason acquisitions of Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. The addition of a veteran defensive end may secure their place in the top five defenses in the league for the rest of the season.
This new front office is not afraid to spend money in free agency and has been much more active in the trade market. A good way to continue the trend would be to add a reliable player to solidify the team’s new direction.
Of course, the Packers do not need Dunlap to make the playoffs or even win the division. They have other needs they may want to fill through trades first. But they have nothing less than Super Bowl victory on their minds in 2019. Adding to this extremely productive defense may just put them that much closer.
Giving up early round picks is something Green Bay has not been want to do in years past. In fact, they hoarded picks to draft more and more players who eventually ended up hurt and/or off the team. This could be the time to go all out.
As stated in many of our trade destination articles, the Lions need a better pass rush to get out of the basement in the best division in football. At right defensive end, they have Trey Flowers, who has been serviceable, if not impressive.
Putting a veteran like Carlos Dunlap at left defensive end would not only make the pass rush better, but maybe even make Flowers better. Veteran leadership for a young player like Flowers would up his game not only for this season, but in years to come as well.
The Lions hardly ever blitz. This is not just because their defensive game plan dictates less blitzing, but also because they do not quite have the personnel to do it effectively. Adding Dunlap would immediately translate into a higher blitz rate.
This team needs to make a move if they plan on being competitive in the NFC North. Their offense is pretty much set, apart from an injury to Kerryon Johnson. But the defense has room to improve. Considering trends, the Packers will probably win the division, but the Lions could still sneak into the playoffs by beating up on division opponents. Dunlap would make it much easier.
Featured Image courtesy of Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports
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