Chiefs signing veteran DE Carlos Dunlap to 1-year contract

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (8) tries to get around Arizona Cardinals...
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (8) tries to get around Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)(Ralph Freso | AP)
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 5:14 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs are signing defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a one-year deal, giving them an experienced pass rusher opposite Frank Clark and providing first-round pick George Karlaftis with another veteran presence.

Dunlap’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told on Thursday that the contract will be worth up to $8 million.

“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.”

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.

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.

In the meantime, they hope Dunlap can fill a role similar to what Melvin Ingram did for Kansas City last season. He was acquired midway through it from Pittsburgh as 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.