That transformation will also include the addition of former Seahawk Quinton Jefferson, who told NFL reporter Josina Anderson that he's agreed with Seattle on a two-year, $9.5 million deal that can be worth up to $11 million.
The 33-year-old Dunlap was the Seahawks' most accomplished edge rusher and was coming off a strong finish in which he recorded eight sacks over the final six games. But that was after an unproductive first half in which he saw his playing time dwindle.
Coach Pete Carroll has said the Seahawks want pass-rushing outside linebackers to play on the edge as their evolving defense continues to transition to more of a 3-4 structure up front. Dunlap is more of a traditional 4-3 defensive end, likely another factor in his release.
Hyder, who turns 30 in May, recorded 1.5 sacks during his lone season in Seattle. His release saves $1.95 million in 2022 cap space while leaving behind $1.7 million in dead money.
If the Seahawks designate Dunlap a post-June 1 release, the move will save them $5.1 million on this year's cap while deferring $4.2 million in dead money to 2023. Otherwise, Dunlap's release will only save Seattle $900,000 this season while leaving behind a $5.6 million dead-cap hit that the team will have to absorb right away.
Dunlap had one year left on the two-year, $13.6 million deal he signed last offseason, after the Seahawks cut him and allowed him to test his market. He was set to make up to $5.1 million in 2022.
Dunlap spent his first 10 1/2 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him in the second round out of Florida in 2010. The Seahawks acquired via a midseason trade ahead of the 2020 deadline. His 96 sacks are eighth-most among active NFL players.
Dunlap's father, Carlos Dunlap Sr., was killed in a car accident in January in the defensive end's hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina.
The releases of Dunlap and Hyder and Jefferson's return mark further changes to the Seahawks' defensive line in the first week of free agency. The team signed former Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu to a two-year, $19.055 million deal and, on the same day, released defensive end Benson Mayowa in a move that saves it only $1.45 million in cap space.
This will be Jefferson's third stint with the team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2016. He noted his familiarity with new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, who was previously his position coach in Seattle.
"My old D-line coach from when I was in Seattle before is the D-coordinator now," Jefferson told Anderson. "It just made sense to go back. My house is there, my friends too. It'll be good to see some familiar faces."
Jefferson, who turns 29 on March 31, has 15 sacks in six NFL seasons while playing end and tackle. That includes a combined 7.5 sacks in the two seasons since he left Seattle in free agency in 2020. He spent that season with the Buffalo Bills and started all 17 games last year for the Las Vegas Raiders.