A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the team is expected to trade or release Reed, which will save nearly $9 million against the salary cap. Agent Drew Rosenhaus told Schefter that Dunlap’s deal is for two years and $16.6 million with $8.5 million guaranteed.
The 32-year-old Dunlap became a free agent when Seattle released him earlier this month in a move that saved $14.1 million in cap space but also left the Seahawks without one of their most impactful defensive linemen.
Dunlap had helped ignite the Seahawks’ staggering pass rush when he arrived in an October trade from the Cincinnati Bengals by recording five sacks and 15 QB hits in nine games, including playoffs. He missed one game with a foot injury that he played through for part of his time in Seattle. He had six tackles and four passes defended with the Seahawks.
To facilitate his trade to Seattle, Dunlap agreed to restructure his contract with the understanding that the Seahawks would release him and let him test free agency if the two sides couldn’t agree to an extension. That restructure increased his 2021 cap number to a prohibitive $14.1 million.
The Seahawks thought when they released Dunlap that they would have a chance to re-sign him to a more team-friendly deal, which they’re doing. One reason his return seemed like a possibility was his fondness for the Seahawks. He had openly gushed about the organization after the trade, saying he felt rejuvenated in his new setting.
“I’d love to stay in Seattle as long as they’ll have me,” he said after the Seahawks lost in the wild-card round. “It was very clear what I was coming here to do and what my time span would be, so now it’s a conversation and I’m open and welcoming for it. You guys already know how grateful I am to be here. They’ve taken great care. I think it’s a great organization for vets, although I feel young and fresh like a young player as well. I feel like I’ve got a lot of ball left and I would like to finish it up with an organization like this.
“My two goals are still a Super Bowl and 100 sacks, and I have not accomplished either one of them. I haven’t won a playoff game. I think we have the pedigree here to do all of that next season, and I would love to be a part of it.”
That fondness was again on display Thursday night when he tweeted his reaction to the deal — with teammate Russell Wilson later doing the same.
Year 12 with the 12’s! -Damn Dunlap the Passion Continues… 😏
— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) March 26, 2021
LETS GOOO!!! @Carlos_Dunlap Back!
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 26, 2021
Dunlap’s 87.5 regular-season sacks in his career rank him 12th among active players, according to Pro Football Reference. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2016. The Bengals were 0-5 in the playoffs during his time in Cincinnati.
Seattle agreed to deals with two other pass-rushers earlier this week, bringing back Benson Mayowa and adding Kerry Hyder. Those two plus Dunlap, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor give the Seahawks a deep group of edge players.
But Reed’s expected departure will leave a void in the interior of their defensive line.
The 28-year-old Reed has been a full-time starter since 2017, the year after Seattle chose him in the second round out of Alabama. He was known as primarily a run-stuffer his first two seasons but then broke out for 10.5 sacks in 2018. He began the 2019 season by serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy and finished the year with two sacks in 10 games.
The Seahawks gave Reed a two-year, $23 million deal last March, betting that he could recapture his 2018 form. He had something of a bounce-back season with 6.5 sacks in 16 games but is set to count nearly $14 million against the cap. Moving on from Reed will leave behind $5 million in dead money regardless of whether it’s via trade or release. The Seahawks have only three picks in next month’s draft (in the second, fourth and seventh rounds), which gives them added incentive to find a trade partner for Reed.
He signaled his apparent goodbye to the Seahawks on Thursday, writing on Twitter:
It’s been real 12s💙✌🏿 tomorrow at 1 it’s official … on to the next chapter
— jarran reed (@jarranreed) March 25, 2021
Poona Ford, who has started alongside Reed the past two seasons, got a two-year deal from Seattle earlier this month as a restricted free agent. Bryan Mone was tendered as an exclusive-rights free agent. The two other true defensive tackles on Seattle’s roster are Cedrick Lattimore and Myles Adams, second-year players with one game of NFL experience between them.