CINCINNATI — The Bengals have no choice but to trade Carlos Dunlap. The two-time Pro Bowler has been a distraction for weeks.
From complaining about his demotion publicly to voicing his frustrations on social media.
The 31-year-old needs to go. The Bengals know it. He's pushing for it. And the 31 other NFL teams know it.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Dunlap's antics and poor play have tanked his trade value.
"The Carlos Dunlap saga continues in Cincinnati, and outside of the hilarious stunt to “put his place on the market” via Twitter, his shouting match with an assistant coach Sunday, and his Instagram posting of the team’s defensive end rotation, there’s also the matter of his play," Albert Breer wrote on Monday. "The tape, I’m told, shows a guy who isn’t just playing poorly, but is playing like he doesn’t care. Which, ultimately, won’t help the Bengals trade him."
If Cincinnati had traded Dunlap in the offseason, they could've gotten a third or fourth-round pick. He was easily the Bengals' best defensive player in 2019. Dunlap had eight sacks and 25 tackles in Cincinnati's final seven games.
He has one sack and 18 tackles in the Bengals' first seven games this season. Combine that with social media and his attitude and his trade value has taken a massive hit.
If you're a team like the Seahawks or Raiders, why give up anything of value for Dunlap when the Bengals may release him?
That's why this organization has to be aggressive in moving the former Pro Bowler. They can't be stubborn or picky with trade compensation.
The entire league knows time is working against the Bengals. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET.
Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn and the Bengals have to get something for Dunlap. They can't flat out release him without getting some type of future asset in return.
That would set a horrible precedent moving forward. Dunlap has been a model citizen for a decade. He's been a cornerstone of the Bengals' defense. They can't reward him for his temper tantrum.
Releasing Dunlap shouldn't be an option. If they have to settle for a 3-way and two chilitos from Skyline, then they should take it and worry about the hot sauce later.
A sixth or seventh-round pick should be enough. Dunlap is an aging, disgruntled player that doesn't want to be in Cincinnati anymore. The Bengals have to be willing to send him elsewhere, even if it's for less than they hoped.
They could get creative and use Dunlap as an asset to move up in the draft. For example, they could send him and their 2021 seventh-round pick to Seattle in exchange for the Seahawks' fifth-rounder. Cincinnati would move up around 40 spots in that scenario.
They could also call the Browns and see if they are interested in Dunlap. Trading him to a division rival could be risky, but the Bengals aren't contending for the playoffs and they've already played Cleveland twice this season.
Instead of settling for a conditional sixth-rounder, maybe they could send him four hours north for a fifth-round selection.
The Bengals have to get something for Dunlap. Including him in a pick-swap or trading him to a division rival might be the best way to maximize his diminishing value.
They shouldn't release Dunlap. They need to get something for him.
The Bengals should take as much [or as little] as they can get for Dunlap and move on.
For more on the Bengals, including the latest NFL news, go here!