Seattle Seahawks release Pro Bowler Carlos Dunlap

Dec 20, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap II (43) sacks Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (7) in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was back in October of last year that the Seattle Seahawks acquired Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap from the Cincinnati Bengals for pennies on the dollar.

Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were looking to add to a weak pass rush group as Seattle vied for the NFC West title. Dunlap, 32, panned out big time. The two-time Pro Bowler recorded five sacks in eight regular-season games with the team.

However, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the marriage would be short-lived due to Dunlap’s expensive contract and the Seahawks’ less-than-stellar NFL salary cap situation. That’s now come to fruition.

Related: Seattle Seahawks 2021 NFL salary cap situation

Seattle Seahawks release Carlos Dunlap

Seattle Seahawks release Carlos Dunlap
Nov 30, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (43) before start of game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report Monday’s news. Seattle’s decision to release Dunlap saves the team $14.07 million in 2021 without a dead cap hit.

That latter point is important given that the Seahawks found themselves a mere $11.58 million under the cap before the release of Dunlap.

A former second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2010, Dunlap now hits the NFL free agent market. He’s likely to draw interest on a short-term deal.

The Florida product has recorded 241 quarterback hits, 109 tackles for loss and 87.5 sacks throughout his 11-year career. His best performance came back in 2015 when Dunlap registered 34 quarterback hits and 13.5 sacks.

Related: Top 40 remaining NFL free agents of 2021

What do the Seattle Seahawks do at pass rush following the Carlos Dunlap release?

Seattle Seahawks sacrificed a lot to land Jamal Adams
Nov 8, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) reacts to a defensive play against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

This has been a huge question mark for Seattle over the past few years. Safety Jamal Adams led the team with 9.5 sacks a season ago. You never want a defensive back to be a team-leader in this category. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed was second with six sacks.

It goes without saying that the Seattle Seahawks need at least one proven edge pass rusher. In fact, Alton Robinson is the team’s leading returning sack-getter at that position with four.

The good news here is that the NFL free agent market is going to be stacked with edge pass rushers. The bad news? Seattle is not in a great salary cap situation and has a number of internal free agents to re-sign. That doesn’t even take into account the drama-filled Russell Wilson situation.

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