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Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap holding out on OTAs as he approaches a contract year

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Carlos Dunlap is playing it safe as he waits to cash in on his next big payday.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals appear to have one of their best players sitting out of OTAs, though it’s not a surprise given the circumstances.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Carlos Dunlap will not attend OTAs this week as the Bengals’ rookies and veterans get on the field for the first time together this offseason. Dunlap also has been skipping voluntary offseason workouts over the last month.

That’s big for Dunlap, as he’s set to lose a $300,000 workout bonus for skipping these offseason workouts. But while that may seem like a lot of money, it’s very small in comparison to the big contract he could sign as a free agent in 2019.

Dunlap would probably prefer the Bengals to just give him a hefty extension this offseason, but regardless, he’s not going to risk an injury during an offseason workout that could cost him millions in his next contract.

Entering his ninth NFL season, Dunlap has 64.5 career sacks, 244 tackles, 42 pass deflections and 16 forced fumbles. In 2017, Dunlap racked up 7.5 sacks, 46 total tackles, seven pass deflections and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Dunlap is already poised to go down as one of the best pass-rushers in Bengals history. If he plays out the rest of his career here and continues to play at a high level, he could go down as the best.

Other players around the NFL skipping OTAs this year include Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell and Jalen Ramsey. No Bengals players other than Dunlap were missing from Day 1 of OTAs on Tuesday.

Missing OTAs isn’t really a big deal and Dunlap is training on his own in Florida to prepare for the 2018 NFL season.

Per ESPN, Marvin Lewis said it’s “not a story” that Dunlap missed OTAs and noted that the defensive end is busy and working out:

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said it’s not a story or a big deal that defensive end Carlos Dunlap isn’t at OTAS, which began this week and are voluntary. Lewis, who clearly didn’t want to discuss it, said he has not asked him whether he’ll be at mini-camp, but smiled and said: “He’s busy. He’s working out.” Dunlap is under no obligation to be at the facility at this time, although he does have a $300,000 workout incentive built into his contract. Dunlap is going into the final season of his contract.