ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs signed defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million on Thursday, giving them an experienced pass rusher opposite Frank Clark and first-round pick George Karlaftis another veteran presence.
The 33-year-old Dunlap was released in March by the Seahawks, who acquired him in a trade with Cincinnati in 2020 and had signed him to a two-year deal. Dunlap rotated with other defensive ends in Seattle, much like he’s expected to do with the Chiefs, and had 8 1/2 sacks along with eight tackles for loss while playing 38% of snaps last season.
“I don’t know if there’s pen to paper. I know I talked to that particular player yesterday,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said after the second full-squad workout of training camp at Missouri Western State University.
“It was a good chat,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m always happy to add big, long guys with experience in the league.”
Dunlap was a second-round pick of the Bengals in 2010, making back-to-back Pro Bowl trips in 2015 and ‘16, and is among the NFL’s active leaders with 96 career sacks. He also has 117 tackles for loss across 13 seasons in the league.
“I trained with him this summer in Miami. We’ll accept him with open arms,” said Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has been their best at pressuring the quarterback in recent years. “I always told him I would love to play with him.”
The Chiefs managed just 31 sacks last season, better only than Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and their inability to put pressure on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was a factor in a second-half collapse in the AFC championship game.
Painfully aware of the situation, the Chiefs reworked Clark’s contract in the offseason rather than letting him go, even though he managed just 4 1/2 sacks last season. They also spent the second of their two first-round picks on Karlaftis, an edge rusher out of Purdue whom the Chiefs hope can develop into a long-term solution.
Now, they hope Dunlap can fill a role similar to what Melvin Ingram did for Kansas City last season. That veteran was acquired midway through the year from Pittsburgh, when the Chiefs were trying to bolster their pass rush for the playoffs. And while he had just one sack in nine regular-season games with them, Ingram had two more during the postseason.
The Chiefs hoped to bring back Ingram this season but he ultimately signed with Miami in free agency.
They found a capable substitute in Dunlap during the first week of camp.
“I’ve always told him, ‘I’d love to play with you, you know what I mean?’” Jones said. “Guys like Carlos Dunlap, Justin Houston — guys who set the standard when I was in the league. You know, I watched some of their film when I first came into the league, so it’s always a pleasure to be around that type of high-character guy.”
Notes: The Chiefs created roster space for Dunlap by waiving former Baylor F Mark Vital, who has been trying to make it in the NFL at tight end. … FS Justin Reid spent time stretching at the medical tent during practice but later returned to the field. … Rookie SS Bryan Cook got work with the first-team defense during 7-on-7 drills. … Roderick Johnson remained with the starting group while Pro Bowl LT Orlando Brown Jr. continues his holdout.
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