The Cincinnati Bengals very rarely conduct trades during the season, but when they do, it’s usually because of a drastic situation.
For the first time since Carson Palmer threatened retirement in 2011, the Bengals made an in-season trade this past October when they sent Carlos Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks for B.J. Finney and a seventh-round draft pick. Coincidentally, retirement was also on the mind of Dunlap before the deal was announced.
In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Dunlap wrote that he considered retiring during the early portion of the 2020 season when he was still with the Bengals.
Earlier this year, when things weren’t going so great in Cincy, I’ll be honest with you: I did some serious thinking on what I wanted to do with my career. Weighed all options. I even gave some thought to retiring — I really did. I took out a notepad, and wrote down the pros and the cons of just walking away.
For what was likely a multitude of reasons, Dunlap just wasn’t producing in the Bengals’ defense. In Week 5, Dunlap learned he had been demoted not by any coach, but by looking at the depth chart on a whiteboard in the locker room. Rumors of his unproductive relationship with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo became validated at the end of Dunlap’s final game in Cincinnati when the two were seen arguing at each other. Dunlap was traded just a few days later.
The two-time Pro Bowl edge defender desperately wanted out of Cincinnati, and his half-season with the Seahawks proves that he can still play. Dunlap was just one of 12 defenders with at least five sacks and 10 quarterback hits during the last nine weeks of the year. He was far from done playing productive football, kind of like how Palmer wasn’t quite finished either.
In the end, both sides got what they wanted. Dunlap will play for his first playoff win this weekend as his Seahawks host Andrew Whitworth’s Los Angeles Rams.