The Cincinnati Bengals locked up one of their key defensive players on Monday, agreeing to a six-year extension with defensive end Carlos Dunlap. The deal has a base value of $40 million, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.
The 24-year-old Dunlap was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013 season. He'll earn a significant portion of his new contract quickly as according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Dunlap will earn $20 million over the first two seasons of the deal.
While he's started just two games during his three years in Cincinnati, Dunlap has been an impact player for the Bengals and is a rising star in the league. He set a career-high with 40 tackles last season and has racked up 20.0 sacks during his career. Dunlap received a plus-16.8 grade from Pro Football Focus last season, the eighth best among 4-3 defensive ends.
Dunlap's deal came just hours after the deadline to sign franchised defensive end Michael Johnson passed. With a significant investment in Dunlap and Geno Atkins, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton eligible for extensions after next season, 2013 may be Johnson's last in a Bengals uniform.