REPORTS: Bengals sign Carlos Dunlap to six-year deal worth $40 million

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports are citing a six-year deal worth $40 million for Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap. This story is developing.

The Cincinnati Bengals have reportedly signed Carlos Dunlap to a six-year extension worth $40 million. The deal includes $20 million during the first two seasons and $18.7 million from now until training camp in 2014. Dunlap's deal also has an additional $4.5 million in escalators, on top of the $40 million being reported.

The story initially broke by Geoff Hobson and Pro Football Talk, is expected to become official on Tuesday. Dunlap has posted 20.0 quarterback sacks, two touchdowns, four forced fumbles, and 87 tackles in 38 games over three seasons.

Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who was tagged as a franchise player in March, had a 4 p.m. deadline on Monday to agree to terms on a long-term deal. Reports surfaced that the Bengals and Johnson's representatives were communicating, but an agreement wasn't reached before the deadline. Now Johnson can't sign until after the regular season.

So it's a reasonable assumption that the Bengals, unable to sign Johnson long-term, called Dunlap's agent with the opening line, "So, we have all of this money...". The timing is impeccable.

Here's a brief snippet from a post we wrote earlier on Monday:

Dunlap earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week in week 13 against the San Diego Chargers, recording two quarterback sacks that directly led to fumbles. Dunlap also generated a pass deflection, a season-high five tackles and an additional four quarterback pressures.

Overall, he led the Bengals with four forced fumbles in 2012, scored a touchdown on an interception return, and posted five tackles-for-loss. If you combine his four forced fumbles and three recoveries, Dunlap has three more forced fumbles and recoveries combined than the player with the second-most on the team last season. And that's not even including the fumble return for touchdown that scored from 2011.

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Generating 9.5 quarterback sacks during his rookie season in 2010, Dunlap edges closer to superstar status every season. Even with his sack numbers down (10.5 sacks in the past two seasons), his quarterback pressures and hits are constant. In the past two years, Dunlap has generated 100 quarterback pressures on a combined 726 pass rushes. Let's compare those numbers.

Games Rushes Total Pressures Sacks* QB Hits* QB Hurries*
Carlos Dunlap 26 726 100 10 27 63
Geno Atkins 32 1,045 135 25 29 81
Michael Johnson 32 997 83 20 14 49
* According to Pro Football Focus

And that's the rub.

Quarterback sacks.

Generating an impact as a pass rusher leads to problematic results for opposing quarterbacks. It forces a throw before the receiver's route is ready. A good pass rush also encourages pocket abandonment, indiscriminate panic, and the reliance of leg-speed, which isn't a strength among most quarterbacks in the NFL.

Yet because there are those that find comfort in chaos, the failure to complete the play with a quarterback sack open opportunities against the defense. It may even lead to bigger gains because the extended play allows receivers time and improvisation to shed their defenders.

So where does one draw the line between pressure and a quarterback sack? Sure, 10.5 sacks in the past two seasons feels below par. Or is it above par? Whatever. Dunlap has still generated at least a shared sack in 17 of 38 career games (44.7 percent) -- just below the defensive line benchmark set by Geno Atkins (47.9 percent). Atkins, a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro defensive tackle, routinely laps Dunlap's numbers, but that's more consistent with most players in the NFL.

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