Seahawks' acquisition of Dunlap could tilt NFC West balance originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Seattle Seahawks' defense has been nothing short of atrocious this season, so they did something to try and make it less awful Tuesday when they acquired Carlos Dunlap in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.
Bengals traded DE Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks, source tells ESPN. Will be official after 4 pm.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2020
Dunlap, who had been trying to burn down all of Cincinnati to get away from the Bengals, will give the Seahawks some much-needed pass-rush help on the outside. The 31-year-old has recorded only one sack this season, but he registered 46 sacks from 2015-19.
The Seahawks' defense has been among, if not the worst in the NFL this season. Seattle is giving up 479 yards per game and is only recording 1.5 sacks per game.
Dunlap will not be able to play in Week 8 when the 49ers visit CenturyLink Field due to COVID-19 protocols that require him to sit out a week before being allowed to practice.
While Dunlap won't help the Seahawks in Week 8 against the suddenly surging 49ers, he should provide them with some much-needed help on the defensive line.
Dunlap was unproductive for the Bengals this season, but that could have more to do with his desire to be anywhere else than his remaining talent. Last season, Dunlap was the third-rated defensive end by Pro Football Focus, had the second-best run defense grade and 17th best pass rush grade.
RELATED: How NFC West will be won
The NFC West is going to come down to which team's style of play wins out, and whether or not a star quarterback can cover up all the warts a team might have. The 5-1 Seahawks lead the division by a half-game over the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals and are 1.5 games ahead of the 49ers.
But while the 49ers and Rams have balanced teams with efficient offenses and defenses capable of getting stops and forcing turnovers, the Seahawks rely solely on Russell Wilson to bail out their atrocious defense that struggles to get off the field. The Cardinals are a miniature version of the Seahawks, but their defense is more effective thanks to talent in the secondary with Budda Baker, Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy Jr.
Dunlap got his wish. He's out of Cincinnati and on to a team that struggles to stop a paper cut from bleeding.
If he can be the player he was over the last four seasons, the Seahawks' defense might improve enough to make them the clear favorite in the division. As it stands now, the Seahawks ask too much of Wilson. If he doesn't play a near-perfect game they are almost certain to lose.
Getting a talented pass-rusher will help one level of a porous defense. That might be all the Seahawks need to win the NFL's toughest division.
But if Dunlap is cooked, then the Seahawks are back to square one and the team the 49ers face on Sunday will be the same team they'll have to outplay over the next two months to win the NFC West.