The NFL’s biggest trade on Wednesday was the Bengals‘ decision to deal veteran edge rusher Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks in exchange for veteran offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick. The Bengals, in desperate need of offensive line help, got some with the addition fo Finney, a former undrafted rookie who saw time at both center and guard during his first five NFL seasons with the Steelers. In Dunlap, the Seahawks, who were in desperate need of a pass rusher, acquired a two-time Pro Bowler with 82.5 sacks under his belt.
While he did not get into specifics when asked about Dunlap’s unceremonious ending in Cincinnati (the 11-year veteran put his Cincinnati home up for sale via Twitter shortly following Sunday’s 37-34 loss to the Browns), Bengals coach Zac Taylor agreed with a reporter when asked if the trade was best for both sides.
“I think that’s a great way to put it,” said Taylor, who added that he does not think the decision to trade Dunlap has sent the wrong message to his players. “Every situation is different. I believe in the guys in the locker room. They’re about the right stuff. This will be a one-time issue.”
When asked about Dunlap’s reduced role after he made just four starts in Cincinnati’s seven games, Taylor offered a Bill Belichick-like response.
“We just look at what everybody does, every single day,” Taylor said. “Just always trying to put the team in the best position to win football games. That’s what drives every decision we make and will continue to make.”
Finney, who signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks during the offseason, will look to help a Bengals offensive line that has already surrendered 28 sacks this season. Following a solid career at Kansas State, Finney spent his rookie season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad before making three starts in 2016, his second season. That season, Finney started when Le’Veon Bell rushed for a Steelers single game record 236 yards in a late-season win over the Bills. He made 13 starts in 59 games for the Steelers before appearing in six games with Seattle. The Seahawks deemed him expendable after Finney lost his position battle against Ethan Pocic.
“We’re excited to get Finney in the building here,” Taylor said of the 6-foot-4, 318-pound Finney. “We’ve watched him play over the years from afar, and we like what we’re adding to the offensive line with him. He has good veteran experience and provides us with needed versatility.”
While he will be replaced in Cincinnati by undrafted rookie Amani Bledsoe, the 31-year-old Dunlap will join a Seattle pass rush that recorded just nine sacks during the team’s first six games. On Wednesday night, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Dunlap will primarily serve as the team LEO, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role that Bruce Irvin served prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 2.
“He’ll get in here tonight sometime,” Carroll said of Dunlap, via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. “We start working through the protocol which will take us all the way through the week. He’ll be ready to come out and play for us next week (against the Bills). We’ll be happy to get him.”
After allowing Jadeveon Clowney to walk this offseason, the Seahawks drafted two edge rushers in second-round pick Darrell Taylor and fifth-round pick Alton Robinson. The Seahawks were hoping that the rookies would complement starters Irvin and Benson Mayowa. That plan hasn’t quite worked out, however, after Irvin suffered his injury and Taylor still recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture.
“We were working at it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of his outside pass rush during Wednesday’s virtual press conference. “Losing Bruce was a big deal to us, because we knew that he was an accomplished rusher … We’re still developing. We’re going to get better.”
The addition of Dunlap (who recorded nine sacks last season) will certainly help the Seahawks and Carroll, who said that value of having a formidable outside pass rush is as important now as it’s ever been during his time on the sidelines.
“It’s critical to develop your rush so it can complement with the rest of the game,” Carroll said. “It’s huge. That’s nothing that we haven’t talked about forever. So that element is just a built-in need if you’re going to have a good developing pass rush.”