Bengals lock up Carlos Dunlap to six-year extension
The deadline to sign franchise tagged players to long-term deals came and went on Monday but fifth-year pro Michael Johnson remained without a new contract. Instead, the Bengals put that big money on Carlos Dunalp, signing him to a six-year, $ 40 million contract extension. Dunlap is set to earn $20 million over the first two years of the deal, while it also includes $4.5 million in terms of incentives.
The Bengals are expected to make a formal announcement of the deal on Tuesday.
Dunlap was previously scheduled to earn $630,000 in the final year of his rookie contract, and become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013 season.
Even though Dunlap started just two games over the past three seasons, he has been an impact player for the Bengals and is considered one of the favorite emerging pass rushers across the league. He possesses rare explosiveness for a man of his size and has greatly matured over his career with the Bengals.
Last season, Dunlap set a career-high with 40 tackles, while also recording six sacks and scoring one touchdown off an interception in the Bengals season finale against the Ravens. As a rookie, Dunlap led the team with 9.5 sacks in the 2010 season.
While this may still seem like a big contract for a relatively unproven player who has struggled to remain healthy during his first few years in the league, he has also racked up 20.0 career sacks. Additionally, with money tied in Dunlap and Geno Atkins, A.J. Green as well as Andy Dalton eligible for contract extensions after the 2013 season, it is highly likely Michael Johnson is playing will be playing his last season in a Bengals uniform. Under those circumstances, the Bengals could be expecting Dunlap to step up and slide into a starting role. If he plays to his potential after that, this contract could start to look like a bargain. So, maybe the Bengals are playing smart by buying low now.