Seahawks 2021 Free Agent Primer: Quinton Dunbar

Playing in just six games before landing on injured reserve, Dunbar couldn't escape the durability concerns that have plagued him throughout his NFL career in 2020. Still, at the right price, could Seattle consider keeping him around due to his upside when healthy?
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Following an early Wild Card round exit, the Seahawks have officially transitioned into an offseason that could be one of the most significant of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era.

When the new 2021 league year kicks off in March, Seattle will have a whopping 24 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Four players will be restricted free agents, while six will be exclusive rights free agents and several others will be entering the final year of their current contracts ready to negotiate extensions, including safety Jamal Adams.

Over the next several weeks, I will break down each and every one of the Seahawks' unrestricted free agents by revisiting their 2020 seasons, assessing why they should or should not be re-signed, breaking down an ideal contract, and making an early prediction on whether or not the player will return in 2021.

Up next in the series, Quinton Dunbar's first season in Seattle was ravaged by injuries and poor play. But based on his preferred size and skill set at the cornerback position, could the team bring him back for a second chance?

Season In Review

After being acquired from Washington for a fifth-round pick in March 2020, Dunbar's time in Seattle got off to a rocky start, as he was arrested for alleged involvement in an armed robbery back in May before charges were eventually dropped. Despite showing up for training camp out of shape, he started the team's season opener in Atlanta across from Shaquill Griffin and registered five tackles and a pass defensed. The following week, he intercepted Cam Newton in the Seahawks 35-31 win over the Patriots. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury during that game that bothered him throughout the rest of the year, limiting him to six games before landing on injured reserve and undergoing season-ending surgery in December.

Why Seattle Should Re-Sign Him

When healthy, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound Dunbar has been a lockdown-caliber cornerback in the NFL. Only two years ago, quarterbacks posted a 61.2 passer rating targeting him in coverage, he picked off four passes in just 11 starts, and he earned the second-highest overall grade behind Richard Sherman from Pro Football Focus. He had 17 passes defensed in 18 total games in 2018 and 2019, showing a knack for getting his hands on the football that shouldn't be surprising given his prior background as a receiver at Florida. He has also consistently been a sound tackler, missing 10 combined tackles over the past three seasons and exhibiting a willingness to be involved defending the run game. Those qualities all made him worth trading for a year ago and still could make him worth the investment in 2021.

Why Seattle Should Let Him Walk

In every sense of the word, Dunbar's only season with the Seahawks was an unmitigated disaster. Though charges were dropped, his off-field issues created unnecessary distractions that lasted into training camp and once he arrived, he wasn't in football shape. Despite a decent start to the season, his play suffered tremendously from his chronic knee issue and he became a liability in the secondary, as he surrendered four touchdowns and 491 receiving yards in coverage in just six starts while yielding a 110.0 passer rating. Health has continued to be a major problem for him, as he has now finished each of the past three years on injured reserve and missed a combined 25 regular season and postseason games.

Ideal Contract

1 year at $2.5 million with incentives

Prediction

In his end-of-season press conference, coach Pete Carroll indicated the Seahawks hoped to re-sign Dunbar, and despite how poorly his 2020 campaign went, bringing him back at the right price makes sense on numerous fronts. With Griffin also heading towards free agency and potentially having a strong market for his services, the former Gators standout would be a far cheaper alternative to team up with D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers in 2021. Assuming he avoids the off-field chaos that defined his offseason last summer and reports to training camp in tip-top shape, there wouldn't be a better opportunity for him to attempt to rebuild his value than playing in Carroll's Cover 3 scheme that should accentuate his size, athleticism, and ball skills. Even if Griffin re-signs, Dunbar's market should be lukewarm at best given his injury history and it would be wise to bring him back on a team-friendly one-year deal with incentives.

Previous Seahawks Free Agent Primers

Chris Carson

K.J. Wright

Shaquill Griffin

Mike Iupati

Benson Mayowa