The Kansas City Chiefs have officially made room for defensive end Carlos Dunlap on the roster. The team waived tight end mark vital, according to the July 28 NFL transaction filing.
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Vital was sort of a project for the Chiefs. After playing with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Summer League last year, Vital — who was a 2021 starter for the National Champion Baylor basketball team and hasn’t played football since middle school — announced on Twitter on Aug. 30, that he will try to play in the NFL.
After spending a few days on the Seattle Seahawks practice team in September, he was released and then signed to the Kansas City practice team, where he remained for the entire 2021 season.
Vital’s waiver likely has to do with the addition of veteran defenseman Carlos Dunlap, whom the Chiefs signed on July 28 on a one-year deal worth up to $8 million. The omission of Vital has freed up a spot on the list to bring in Dunlap.
Dunlap, 33, detailed the process behind signing with defending champions AFC West to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
“It was a turbulent journey. I met with coaches last night and started watching movies around midnight,” he said, which Anderson shared on Twitter. “It’s an exciting time for me that’s a long time coming.”
Dunlap, 33, entered the league in 2010 as the Cincinnati Bengals’ second-round draft pick. He played ten full seasons for the Bengals, earning two Pro Bowl nominations in the process, before Cincinnati passed Dunlap to the Seahawks on October 29, 2020. He played the remainder of the 2020 season and 2021 season as a member of the Seahawks.
According to Pro Football Reference, Dunlap, who is entering his 13th season in the league, has 96 sacks, 255 quarterback hits and 117 tackles for loss during his NFL career.
The fact that Schefter noted Dunlap could make “up to” $8 million from his deal with the Chiefs likely means his contract is incentivized.
Kansas City’s pass-rush unit wasn’t what it needed to be last season.
During the 2021 season, the Chiefs’ defense totaled 31 sacks, ranking 29th in the NFL overall, according to StatMuse.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones (86.7) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (70.6) were the only pass rushers on the Kansas City roster to top 70 for PFF pass rushes for the season. Defensive end Frank Clark, one of the highest-paid players in Kansas City, recorded 4.5 sacks – his lowest sack count since his rookie season – and didn’t record his first sack until Week 8.
That’s why getting help in the Edge Rush department, especially with a young secondary, was paramount for the Chiefs this offseason.
The team drafted defensive end George Karlaftis with a 30th overall win this offseason. He will help in a big way in Kansas City. However, the reigning AFC West champions could still use another edge-rusher to put themselves in a position to potentially be among the elite in that department next season.