The Seattle Seahawks have opted to release defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap was acquired for a sixth round pick at the trade deadline as a means to boost their ailing pass rush, which is exactly what he did. The Cleveland Browns, who have their own needs at defensive end should probably at least consider Dunlap.
The key issue with Dunlap isn't his age, 32, but it's interest level. Dunlap had been an excellent defensive end for 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals. In year 11, he looked terrible.
So what happened? Beyond the fact Dunlap was playing for a losing team, he actively disliked head coach Zac Taylor, who is still somehow employed by the Bengals. Taylor created issues with a number of veterans over the course of the season. Had the Bengals simply traded veterans such as A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Dunlap at the beginning of the season and really moved on, they could have gotten some draft assets when players had more value.
Instead, they kept them and all three played worse. Some of that was due to injury, but veterans that don't appear to be in the long term plans of the Bengals all played worse, which might be a function of age, but seems more a reflection of their leadership.
After Dunlap went to the Seahawks, his role was different, but he also looked refreshed. He was great for the Seahawks, bringing a different element to their pass rush. In six games with the Bengals, he recorded just one sack. In the ten he played for the Seahawks, he recorded five.
Dunlap also fits the size the Browns seem to like in their defensive ends at 6'6" and around 280 pounds. He could play as a base end against the run as well as still get after the quarterback. On a short term deal, the Browns could get a nice role player, which would free them up to pursue a purer edge rusher either elsewhere in free agency or though the draft.
Dunlap also spent 11 years in Cincinnati so it might be convenient to simply sign four hours up I-71 to finish out his career and should give him a couple opportunities to get back at Zac Taylor.
It's just one more option to address one of the Browns biggest pressing needs and could be had at a potential value. He won't be cheap necessarily, but he won't be getting premier pass rusher money either.