Seahawks Finally Upgrade Pass Rush With Carlos Dunlap Trade
By Liam McKeone
After Everson Griffin was traded to the Detroit Lions by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday evening, NFL trade deadline szn was officially underway. There was much consternation from Seattle fans after Griffin went to the Lions and the Seahawks did not appear interested. They desperately need ... well, any help at all on defense, but especially with their pass rush.
Wednesday gave an indication that the Seahawks were merely biding their time (or got outbid and settled on their second option, depending on how positive a person you are) as they sent a seventh-round pick and a backup center for longtime Bengals pass-rusher Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has been extremely displeased with his lack of playing time this season and has made that very clear via social media posts. He has gotten his wish and will now, presumably, start for a Super Bowl contender.
This was a necessary move for this Seahawks defense. Dunlap won't come in and wreak havoc, but he did notch nine sacks last season and has generally been the same solid edge defender that he's been his whole career in Cincy. The Seahawks' current sack leaders are safety Jamal Adams and some guy named Benson Mayowa, who both have two on the year. Seattle has eight sacks as a team this season. One need not work for ESPN's stats department to determine that an average of 1.5 sacks per game is not going to get it done for winning teams.
This is not a new problem for the Seahawks, either. They currently rank 29th in the NFL in sack percentage, taking down opposing quarterbacks on only three percent of offensive snaps. In 2019, they were nearly as bad, clocking in at 27th in the NFL with a 5.36 percent sack percentage. In fact, 2018 was the last time Pete Carroll's squad had anything resembling a decent pass rush, when Frank Clark and Jarran Reed combined for 24 sacks. Clark is now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and Reed has zero sacks in six games.
Dunlap will not solve all of Seattle's defensive issues. I don't think any one player could fix a unit that's on pace to give up more than 8,000 yards of total offense. That would shatter the current NFL record held by the New Orleans Saints, who gave up 7,042 total yards in 2012. But having a player who isn't a safety with the ability to get to the quarterback on any given passing down will be a boon to at least stem the tide, if only a bit.