If Carlos Dunlap is his normal self, the Chiefs are in a good place.

The Kansas City Chiefs acquired defensive end Carlos Dunlap on a one-year deal worth up to $8 million. Dunlap is a veteran pass-rusher who was with the Seattle Seahawks for the past season and a half. Before his stint in Seattle, he spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

During his time with the Bengals, Dunlap amassed 82.5 sacks in 10.5 seasons. In his early years in the league, he was seen as a specialist pass-rusher. Despite not starting a game during his rookie season in 2010, he still had 9.5 sacks. In his second and third seasons, he had a combined 10.5 sacks.

Dunlap took over as the Bengals’ starting defensive end in his fourth year, and it was his best season to that point. Although his 7.5 sacks weren’t a career high, he improved his game across the board and became a better defender overall. He amassed 58 total tackles and had 26 quarterback hits. Going from a pass rush specialist to an all-downs player was instrumental in his development.

Dunlap had a career-high 13.5 sacks in 2015, and that led to him being selected to back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2015 and 2016. He was the definition of consistency, averaging eight sacks per season the rest of his time with Cincinnati before that. the season he was traded to Seattle.

He continued that consistency with Seattle, where he had five sacks at the end of the 2020 season with the Seahawks. After a slow start to the season in 2021, he came in strong to close out the year and added 8.5 sacks to his resume.

Dunlap was being roughed up, to say the least, during some of his time in Seattle. When he was asked to return to coverage in zone blitz packs, that was not a recipe for success. Chiefs fans, even if they don’t want to, may remember the days when former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton ran similar packages with Tamba Hali or Justin Houston.

Current defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be able to use Dunlap as a pass-rusher and edge setter, thus getting the most out of Dunlap. It is anticipated that Dunlap could start the season in a role similar to the one played by Melvin Ingram at the end of last season. The first is a player who can bring a lot of energy and doesn’t need to be the starting defensive end at this point in his career.

With Frank Clark entering what is presumed to be his final year in Kansas City and a room full of younger defensive ends on rookie contracts, having a guy like Dunlap in the locker room will be a huge boost for the team. Rookie defensive end George Karlaftis can lean on another veteran for insights as he learns to elevate his game to the pro level.

Dunlap is the exact type of player the Chiefs needed to add for the 2022 season. They added a lot of pieces to the secondary and also in the linebacker room. They got tougher and more physical across the board in those two position groups. Selecting Karlaftis was a start for the defensive line, but adding Dunlap solidifies a defense that was overhauled in a soft rebuild this offseason.

Should Dunlap expect eight sacks and 35 quarterback pressures like he had with Seattle last year? Possibly. It could be that he’s more of a rotation piece in Kansas City’s defense, but he could see a bigger role if Clark gets hurt or Karlaftis has trouble getting out of the gate.

The good news is that the Chiefs improved their defensive front before the end of training camp. It was a move that had to be made, and Dunlap can be a vital piece for a defense that has championship aspirations. For Dunlap to have a successful season in Kansas City, he just needs to do what he’s done his entire career: stay healthy and be a consistent force up front.

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