Late Thursday morning marked one of those NFL circumstances that only happen once in a while — a new player coming to terms on a contract while the team is still practicing. At 10:29 a.m. Arrowhead Time, ESPN’s Adam Schefter alerted the masses: defensive end Carlos Dunlap was a Chief.
Less than 30 minutes later, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took the podium for his first official press conference of the 2022 season.
“I know there’s talk out there about us signing a player,” Spagnuolo said carefully. “I don’t know that there’s pen to paper right now, so I won’t go there. I did have a chance to speak with him last night. It was a good visit and then I’ll let coach (Andy) Reid take it from there. OK, guys? And I’m sure we’ll have opportunities to talk about that player going forward.”
That’s when friend-of-site Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star shrewdly followed up with a hypothetical signing of Dunlap.
“You’re going to do that to me, aren’t ya? You’re going to do that?” laughed Spagnulo, before answering. “I’m always happy to add big, long guys, right? That have experience, that played in the league.”
Dunlap comes in at 6 feet 6 and 285 pounds — and he has played in the league since 2010.
“But I’ll be honest with you,” continued Spagnuolo, “I do know something about the player just from afar. Right? But until we get him in here and find out where we could use him best — and that’s exactly what I told him [Wednesday] night when we talked.”
As Spagnuolo gets to know Dunlap in the coming days, the 12-year veteran can take solace in that he will be greeted by a familiar face. In his own presser on Thursday, defensive tackle Chris Jones revealed the two worked out together this past offseason in Miami.
“I’ve always told him, ‘I’d love to play with you, you know what I mean?’” said Jones. “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.”
A significant part of the Chiefs trading for Melvin Ingram midway through last season was what it would mean for Jones — and how the Chiefs could move him back to his native defensive tackle position. Ingram came into the mix and Jones moved back to his comfortable spot, leading to better play.
Ingram thus choosing the Miami Dolphins over the Chiefs surprised Jones — but he likes what Dunlap can bring to the table.
“Experience is one of the things,” the 28-year-old Jones said of what Dunlap brings to the Chiefs. “We got a young [defensive line] group this year, fairly young to me — I’m like one of the older guys in the group. I think [he can] bring a lot of experience, a lot of wisdom to the group. He also can influence the group with his leadership ability. We’d love to have him.”
Spagnuolo agreed with Jones as he described his defensive line room.
“A little young, right? A little young and experienced, but I think we’ve got some good options,” said the defensive coordinator. “I think this is going to be one of those years that it’s going to take us three, four, five games — hopefully, as we win — where we figure out where everybody goes and who should be doing this and who should be playing.
“I just think it’s one of those years with all the new faces.”
And on Thursday, the Chiefs added another one to the mix.
You can find my full observations from Thursday’s practice here.
Chiefs Training Camp Report - Thursday, July 28 - Day 2 https://t.co/f4qh07kerw— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) July 28, 2022
- Did not practice (due to injury): CB Rashad Fenton (shoulder) OL Lucas Niang (knee) OL Prince Tega Wanogho (leg)
- Limited: S Justin Reid (undisclosed) — the Chiefs noted Reid was “fine” after the workout.
Tweet of the day
Veteran DE Carlos Dunlap is signing a one-year deal worth up to $8 million with the KC Chiefs, his agent @DrewJRosenhaus confirmed.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2022
This tweet did not orignate at Chiefs camp — but with it being the one many Chiefs fans have been waiting to see since the offseason began, it is our “tweet of the day.”
Quote of the day
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo — after discussing how much he may need to scale the defense back given the new faces in the lineup: “I hope I don’t have to answer that question again. Are we done with that one?”
The Chiefs return to the practice field on Friday for their second workout open to the public. The practice begins at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. Here’s the complete schedule. Every member of the team will be available to sign autographs after practice as head coach Andy Reid addresses the media at the podium.