Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap: “I don’t see the plan”

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The Bengals have lost some of their top players in free agency, and at least one of the top players who remains isn’t sure what’s going on.

Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap took to Twitter and said he doesn’t understand what the Bengals’ plan is in free agency, adding that the players don’t get a say in the matter.

“I don’t see the plan but guess that’s not my role to either,” Dunlap wrote.

Dunlap’s tweet came shortly after news broke that former Bengals running back Rex Burkhead had signed with the Patriots. The Bengals have also lost two top offensive linemen in Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, and three players from their defensive front seven in Karlos Dansby, Margus Hunt and Domata Peko. The only player they’ve added is offensive tackle Andre Smith.

Dunlap is surely reflecting the thoughts of many Bengals fans in not seeing how a team is supposed to get better with moves like that in free agency.

64 responses to “Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap: “I don’t see the plan”

  1. It doesn’t look like there is a plan at all. The Bengals have never exactly been known as a smart, intuitive, forward-thinking organization anyway. It’s sad for the fans of Cincinnati, who deserve better. (At least they aren’t in Cleveland, right?)

  2. Same plan as every year. Bungle your way to football mediocrity while cashing in big cheques off the field for the Brown family. It’s not like you have a culture of winning or excellence.

  3. I feel bad for A.J. Green. What was a team on the verge now seems to have given up and started the rebuilding process. They should do him a favor and trade him to a team that has a shot at the playoffs.

  4. We fans dont see it either. Usually I want players to keep their mouths shut but I’m glad one of them is speaking up about this. How do you continue to keep Marvin, keep Pacman, lose good players and not bring anyone it? We haven’t seen a playoff win in 25 years and this is what they decide to do? Fans – stop buying tickets, shirts, hats, stupid jersey, etc.

  5. The bengals will wind up within 5 -10 million of the cap after rookie contracts and any reworked deals to extend players getting close to FA. We may not like how they spend their money (I don’t at all), but they are not being cheap on player contracts. Most people loved the Gio extension last year, and that extension would have kept burkhead behind Gio on the depth chart anyway. The problem is Marvin’s evaluation of talent and worth, not in Mike browns ability to open his wallet.

  6. The only problem I have with this is that everybody knows there is a cap. But everybody tries to get as much money as possible. Then they cry what’s going on. Well we have a hand full of players wanting all the money. If you are really worried about it the. Take pay cuts and get that sb victory. Why I stopped watching baseball. One player making 200 mil and wondering why nobody is on the team

  7. The plan was to draft two offensive tackles two years ago so that they could replace Whitworth and Smith; unfortunately, neither one have shown so far that they can play, so the whole thing went out the window and has steamrolled. Some things may take care of themselves with injured players returning (Andrew Billings, who was always pegged to replace Peko) and William Jackson in particular; and some may resolve in the draft. At this point, the head-scratcher is Whitworth, since it’s unlikely under any scenario that they’ll come close to an equal replacement.

  8. The Rams might get 2 years out of Whitworth, he is 37. The Browns gave Zeitler the most money ever for a guard. Burkhead would have been nice to keep, but it’s not like Marvy even realized he was on the roster until the final three weeks of the season…

    All those players on the defensive front need to move on or retire. Hunt never panned out. Dansby is old and slow. Peko is old and can’t pressure the QB.

    The only thing really lost here is leadership, and if guys like Dunlap can’t fill the shoes of these stalwarts then maybe they should be next on the chopping block.

    Next up, chop Malugua and Adam Jones.

    You don’t win through free agency. Would have been nice to keep home grown talent, but not at the cost of hamstringing your entire organization.

  9. The plan?

    Line Mike Brown’s pockets with money.

    The steps:

    1) Have the team’s editor push the lie that the team only has $15m available for free agents and not the $42m according to the NFL. Use the excuses that rookie contracts, set asides for injuries, rolling over money for next year and extending potential free agents next year which won’t happen because they won’t pay the going rate for the player (see Zeitler, Kevin).

    2) Let best players who cost $10m+ a year go and replace with rookies and 1st round busts. Expected savings: $20m

    2a) Continue with one position group being decimated in free agency whereby the draft is now even more important to fill a need and hope for the best (see Jones, Marvin. Sanu, Mohamed. Whitworth, Andrew. Zeitler, Kevin). Expected savings: $15m

    3) Refuse to be creative with contracts and offer big bonuses to reduce the cap hit for following years. That money would be better in Mr. Brown’s pocket so he can put new tires on his Chevy Lumina.

    4) Make the team’s editor argue that the Bengals spent more than they were hoping too in free-agency when they sign a retread that used to play for them but got injured and didn’t re-sign with the team even though that team needs help at that position (see Smith, Andre).

    5) Bring in possible free-agents who would actually help and make sense but don’t sign claiming that they were in the ballpark with contract numbers but the player opted to go elsewhere (see Barwin, Connor. Robinson, Keenan. Minter, Kevin.)

    6) Let arguably your best RB go to the Super Bowl champs (see Burkhead, Rex) and hope to fill that position in the draft. Expected savings $3m

    7) Never cut players who’s productivity has declined or gets in trouble with the law (see Maualuga, Rey. Jones, Adam). Loyalty is important after all. Gaining additional cap space by doing this ($10m) will only put more pressure on to spend more for players mentioned in step 2.

    For the future:

    7) Let contracts of your Hall of Famer WR and DT expire by 2019 (see Green, AJ. Atkins, Geno). Obtain comp picks for them and use to replace. Expected Savings: $15m

    8) Push franchise QB to quit again (see Palmer, Carson) and replace with draft choice. Savings: $15m

    9) Extend Marvin Lewis and the rest of the coaching staff that chooses to stay.

    Hope that helps Carlos.

  10. Steelers record against Bengals in new “golden age” when Cincy made playoffs every year between 2011 and 2015: 8-3.

    Record including last season: 10-3.

    As a Steelers fan, I grew to respect the Bengals roster and thought it was one of the deepest in the league for a couple of seasons. But for some reason, it always seemed like something was “off” somehow, like something kept them from getting the most out of all that talent. They never seemed to shed that kid brother status.

  11. Just don’t put trash on Andy’s lawn people. It isn’t his fault.

    Man, this is going to be a long year. (just not more than 17 weeks)

  12. Obvious rebuild mode all the way, can’t come out n just admit it too soon, still have to sucker as many season ticket holders as possible that you got “a chance to get back to the playoffs” this year.

  13. can’t see the plan if there is no plan. There may really be a plan. My theory is: get as many cheap draft picks as you can. play them 4 or 5 years, then let them go make good money somewhere else.

  14. It doesn’t look like there is a plan at all. The Bengals have never exactly been known as a smart, intuitive, forward-thinking organization anyway. It’s sad for the fans of Cincinnati, who deserve better. (At least they aren’t in Cleveland, right?)

    ==========================
    You say that now, but with all the picks Cleveland has over the next 2 years if they even hit 50% success on their early picks they will have a pretty stacked team of young talent.

  15. I don’t know the plan either, but:
    Losing a 35 year old tackle, when you invested two high draft picks in the position, shouldn’t be a problem.

    The Browns overpaid Zeitler, but that’s a situation where their cap roll-over plan is supposed to benefit them. Instead, the Bengals let one of the better guards in the league walk (despite the Bengals interior O Line struggling last year).

    Losing Dansby (old), Hunt (stinks), Peko (old and stinks), and Burkhead (aggressively average) are nothing to worry about. Adding Smith gives Fisher a little more leeway to learn and grow into a solid right tackle.

    The plan is to let their recent draft picks develop and use the upcoming draft to make the team better. Is it a good plan? Time will tell. Is it a very Bengals plan? The Bengalsiest.

  16. There you have it…. A player going public with his own thoughts on what isn’t happening on his own team…..loose lips….sink ships

    Going public…….who is running that ship??

    Who is allowing the players to run the ship???

    Be more like New England and less like you are and maybe you will “GET IT”

    But then again this is the Bengals we are talking about…..

  17. As a long time season ticket holder I have to agree I’ve seen some decisions that have been suspect, but this offseason is the worst. Marvin Lewis is the most lack luster coach in any professional sport, his constant comments about fixing the problem and getting better have grown stale, he is the problem. Everything seems to have gotten worse since the closing minutes of the Pittsburgh playoff game. A team headed in the right direction took a 180 degree turn after bone headed penalties ended that season. It runs thru the whole organization and starts and ends at the top. We’ll miss Whit, a true class act. I still think we should have drafted DeCastro instead of Zeitler, but in similar circumstances he would have bolted too. I enjoy going to games with my friends and continue to think maybe it will get better. Probably time for me to bolt too…….

  18. See…he is going on the assumption that there is a plan. Never assume, it just gets you into trouble.

  19. You are right Carlos, it’s not your role. Your role is to rush the qb, stop the run etc. the d has gotten progressively worse with mostly the same roster.

  20. Not even talking to Zeitler when he could only talk to the bengals is the real thing I have issue with. I could get behind, Peko, hunt, and even Whit (got to much for his age).

    On Burkhead, the bengals made this mess. If they really thought he was worth keeping, they would not have given him the chance week 17… I don’t believe New England would have made that choice to raise his status if they were going to retain him. And no, don’t tell me they were just trying to win games..

    NFL is a business that needs a strategic plan. Yes I agree comp picks is part of it. The Bengals can’t use the “we lock up our own players that prove themselves, and let the others go to get comp picks” any longer.

    And just to make sure the fans (including myself) are part of the problem. We will all fall in line, buy our tickets, watch the games…. I read every day to see what they are doing (or not doing) or stupidly doing…

    I need to start watching women bikini soccer…. I hear Australia has a good team this year 🙂

  21. Steelers record against Bengals in new “golden age” when Cincy made playoffs every year between 2011 and 2015: 8-3.

    Record including last season: 10-3.

    As a Steelers fan, I grew to respect the Bengals roster and thought it was one of the deepest in the league for a couple of seasons. But for some reason, it always seemed like something was “off” somehow, like something kept them from getting the most out of all that talent. They never seemed to shed that kid brother status.

    ——————————-

    Your point is fair and heard, and to be totally transparent you are right. I totally agree with your premise that the steelers own the bengals, but i would like to point out that the ravens, no matter how bad they are in a given year, usually give the steelers fits. Certain teams just have other teams numbers. Like on the opposite side of the fence the bengals have typically always either split or swept the ravens in many years. So does that mean the ravens are inferior to the bengals? Not necessarily, like i sais certain teams just have the other teams number. This can mostly be attributed to playing style, perhaps the steelers playing style is just the bengals burfict Achilles heel.

  22. Dunlap wanted to shoot for 20 sacks at the beginning of the prior season. I don’t even know if he actually recorded 3 sacks.

    Who cares what he thinks? He should worry about his bloated contract and mediocre play.

    Pretty soon Carlos, you’ll be worrying about what the Jags or terrible take all of our trash Vikings plan to do during the offseason.

  23. The fans need to know that this team doesn’t care if it gets better. Just keep coming to the games. That’s all Mr. Brown cares about.

  24. I honestly feel bad for you Bengals fans. I just don’t even know where to begin. Mike Brown seems to be the root of all the problems and of course rightfully so because he’s the owner. Just baffling organizational dysfunction that starts from his seat. You lose good players and pieces to build around. Keep bad locker room cancers and stay out of trouble plus embarrassing organization such as Pac man Jones. Especially keeping a coach this long with 0 playoff wins and what is it now 8 chances? He’s had some pretty good teams and still couldn’t do it. I’m just saying almost no other coach would have survived that long without showing a step over the hump. Gotta wonder if Mike Brown even cares about winning at all.Only looks like he’s in it for the business of lining pockets. Has no care if he ever even sniffs a championship for Cincinnati that you all deserve. Prob figures stadium is always packed and team is always just not terrible and coach he is comfortable with just goes along w the status quo and won’t say anything. Shoe string budget and mediocre results and he continues to see his investment remain profitable. Just too bad bc there are the passionate owners in sports who actually try to win and put it at top of list. Unfortunately, one doesn’t own the Bengals. Like some have mentioned above. Gotta hit him where it hurts. Season tix holders, going to games,buying merchandise. Not saying it will solve but will get his attention which is what he needs.Culture needs to be changed there. Starting w a new coach and voice,vision but overall organization needs culture change also which probably will not happen bc Brown will never sell. Good luck Bengals fans! I’ll be rooting for you and a positive change.

  25. As for keeping Marvin Lewis, they are trying to follow Pittsburgh’s way of being patient and not changing coaches every two years like Cleveland. Only problem is they don’t have the right coach!

  26. The biggest problem in Cincinnati is that when you sign a deal that’s it. You can suck and brown will not come back and try to restructure a player who underperforms their deal. Which is great for players and free agents. However, it hamstrings them to resign their top players and leaves little left over for 2nd tier guys. They can draft talent no question, but they can’t retain it doe to the generic deals and limited creativity with contract structuring. In a way they are like an over responsible person who has a credit card who never goes into debt by paying Off their balance every month. What’s the point? Sometimes you have to overspend to keep your players and with guys like maualuga, pacman jones and Michael Johnson who are more than expendible to get back the extra cash to bring back Guys like burkhead and whitworth. This team is so frustrating to watch.

  27. They did keep Kirkpatrick, he’s not bad. As a Ravens fan the biggest loss is Whitworth. Most underrated player in the NFL – guy is incredible

  28. The problems in Cincinnati run very deep, and start with the owner and the coach. I’ve never seen an implosion brought about by such a complete loss of poise as I saw in the Pittsburgh playoff game a couple of years ago, yet nobody was held accountable. You can’t win in a big way with that type of culture. Allowing a couple of guy’s selfishness to destroy a season for the rest of the team is just unforgivable. The coach, and both players, should have been fired in the locker room after that game, yet nothing happened.

  29. 25 year Bengals fan here. The Bengals plan is their usual fare.

    Step 1: Ignore free agents, unless it’s a cheap player used to replace a departed player. Player has to be cut from original team.
    Step 2: Collect compensatory picks as if they’re made of solid gold. Let your players walk and don’t sign players from other teams unless they were cut. This is a strict rule.
    Step 3: Have Geoff Hobson (writer that works the team site) type up some nonsense about the Bengals only having $15 million to do everything, even when all sites report $43 million in cap space. Claim we need $15 million for a “rookie cap”, $7 million “injury buffer” $10 million to “roll over” for future signings. Type up the same article literally every year.

    Seriously folks, this is what we Bengals fans deal with. We got lucky drafting some great players (Atkins, Dunlap, Dalton, Green, Eifert, etc) but Marv is a playoff choker and Mike Brown won’t spend money to improve the team. We get worse in free agency every single year.

  30. PFT loves the Steelers says:
    Mar 15, 2017 11:30 AM
    25 year Bengals fan here. The Bengals plan is their usual fare.

    Step 1: Ignore free agents, unless it’s a cheap player used to replace a departed player. Player has to be cut from original team.
    Step 2: Collect compensatory picks as if they’re made of solid gold. Let your players walk and don’t sign players from other teams unless they were cut. This is a strict rule.
    Step 3: Have Geoff Hobson (writer that works the team site) type up some nonsense about the Bengals only having $15 million to do everything, even when all sites report $43 million in cap space. Claim we need $15 million for a “rookie cap”, $7 million “injury buffer” $10 million to “roll over” for future signings. Type up the same article literally every year.
    —————————————

    Your 100 percent right on these!!! Don’t forget Hobson writing on how they don’t go after flashy free agents, they sign the players that have performed… Wait that doesn’t work anymore…

  31. The NFL would do well to start squeezing out this kind of owner. Sucks for the fans of the team but also means that teams in their division have the advantage of less competition. I’m a Seahawks fan and blessed they are owned by Paul Allen. But I’m sure fans of other teams didn’t appreciate seeing the Seahawks waltz into the playoffs last year when maybe they didn’t belong, only because the rest of the NFC west is in shambles and have two of the worst owners. I even feel a little cheated that we lost a pretty great rivalry with SF because their owner made choices that weren’t in the interest of putting the best product on the field. Can’t imagine how abysmal it must be for SF fans…oh wait, I can, because when they were winning their last ring, Seattle had Ken Behring threatening to move the team. It was the worst.

    I have never been to Cincinatti and doubt I ever will but I’ve always rooted for the Bengals if they were on TV and not playing Seattle. Used to be that most Americans loved an underdog, but now it seems they prefer to gleefully defecate on the corpse of the underdog instead.

  32. The Brown family is tickled pink to be in the league’s mediocre middle. They can’t beat the Steelers, so why try?

  33. They should have at least kept one of Zeitler and Whitworth otherwise this is typically what the Bengals do in free agency. And honestly besides those 2 the other people they have let go have either been backups or just marginal guys. They get better getting Peko out of there because he was declining badly the last few years. All they have to do is fix the o line and kicking issues and they’re fine. If they didn’t suck so bad in those 2 areas they’re a 10 win team last year. 3 games were lost because of kicking last season. That being said they need to focus on getting o line and a pass rusher the most in this draft.

  34. The Bengals couldn’t find it possible to offer another year to Andrew Whitworth. Yet Mike Brown gave himself a $10 million bonus a few years ago.

    And I totally agree with the above posters who are sick and tired of the team (dutifully repeated by Geoff Hobson, website editor and chief propagandist) claiming they have no cap space year after year after year. Simply put, Mike Brown isn’t willing to compete in free agency. He’s unwilling to do what it takes to field a winner.

  35. Mike Brown is one of the few NFL owners in which his worth is tied directly to the team only—most other owners have made their fortunes elsewhere and the NFL team they own is their “hobby” if you will.

    So other owners spending up to the cap and being creative is because they want to win and if the team loses a few buck….so what, they are making or have made millions (most billions) somewhere else.

    For the Bengals, Mike Brown literally looks at every dollar spent as less $$ in his pocket…PERIOD! This is his (and family’s) only source of income.

  36. Demand to be traded, Carlos. Hue would love to have you in CLE. Bengals would probably take a 2nd rounder for you.

  37. Bengals lose Burkhead to Belichick. It’s Plan B basically. They’re on to New England.

    And comment makes still makes as much sense as the Bengals’ actual offseason strategy.

  38. jacktatum32 says:
    Mar 15, 2017 2:42 PM
    Mike Brown is one of the few NFL owners in which his worth is tied directly to the team only—most other owners have made their fortunes elsewhere and the NFL team they own is their “hobby” if you will.

    So other owners spending up to the cap and being creative is because they want to win and if the team loses a few buck….so what, they are making or have made millions (most billions) somewhere else.

    For the Bengals, Mike Brown literally looks at every dollar spent as less $$ in his pocket…PERIOD! This is his (and family’s) only source of income.

    ___________________
    If they can’t afford to run the team the way an NFL team should be run, then they should sell it to someone who can.

  39. v2787 says:
    Mar 15, 2017 6:07 AM
    It doesn’t look like there is a plan at all. The Bengals have never exactly been known as a smart, intuitive, forward-thinking organization anyway.
    ———————————————————————
    In some respects (current front office) you are certainly right.

    However, saying the franchise that birthed the West Coast offense (Bill Walsh, O.C), the Zone Blitz (Dick LeBeau, D.C), AND the no-huddle offense (Sam Wyche, H.C) “NEVER have been known as smart, intuitive, or forward-thinking” is a gross misrepresentation of reality.

    I won’t even get into the litany of innovations and forward thought Paul Brown brought to the game of football.

  40. It says all you need to know when career Bengals want out. Marvin Lewis and the Brown family are con artists and its obvious to everyone including the players. They have been here long enough to know that this team doesn’t give two craps about winning a championship. Marvin takes his check and says yes to the Brown family like a puppet on a string. He is nothing more that a poor head coach who sold out his own players to save his job. Carson Palmer might have been the smart one after all.

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