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Chiefs sign defensive end Carlos Dunlap

The former Bengals and Seahawks defensive end was reported to be visiting Kansas City on Wednesday night.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million.

The free agent defensive end visited with the Chiefs on Wednesday night.

This is the move that many Chiefs fans have been waiting to see ever since free agency began in mid-March. Defensive end has been seen as one of the team’s primary weaknesses headed into 2022. While the selection of defensive end George Karlaftis in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft helped allay those concerns, it was believed that the team needed at least one more veteran pass rusher who could be a rotational player — if not a starter.

While Dunlap might not have been the first player on some lists of potential free agents, he will still fit that bill. Playing in all 17 of the Seahawks’ 2021 games, the 12-year veteran (who played for the Cincinnati Bengals until midway through the 2020 season) was on the field for 38% of the team’s defensive snaps — while accumulating 35 tackles (24 solo, eight for loss), 8.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and seven passes defensed.

While we don’t yet know the details of Dunlap’s deal, he was set to earn $5.1 million in 2022 before Seattle released him in mid-March. We expect that roughly half (or perhaps a little less) of his one-year, $8 million contract with the Chiefs will be from not-likely-to-be-earned (NLTBE) incentives — which, if earned, will be carried against Kansas City’s 2023 salary cap.

Under offseason salary-cap rules, his cap hit will replace the 51st largest Kansas City contract — which is currently $895,000. So we estimate that his contract will reduce the team’s salary cap space by between $3.1 and $7.1 million — likely about $4.1 million. After the raise that tight end Travis Kelce was reported to have received on Tuesday, we now estimate that the team has between $1.0 million and $4.0 million in cap space.

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