It became clear in the weeks that preceded Quinton Dunbar’s trade to the Seahawks that the relationship between the corner and the Redskins was unsalvageable. Dunbar had requested Washington give him a fresh start, and the organization obliged.
Dunbar spoke to Seattle-area reporters on Thursday for the first time since being acquired by the Seahawks on March 23. He didn’t dive too deep into the feud with his former club, but he did mention being grateful for the opportunity for a fresh start.
He explained that the “respect level” is different in Seattle.
“You just want to feel wanted,” Dunbar said via Zoom call. “Them guys made it their job to trade for me, and that’s good enough for me. I just hope to repay them with how I carry myself as a person.”
Dunbar sees Seattle as a perfect fit, both from a culture and a schematic standpoint. He recognizes that his 6-foot-2 frame, athletic measurables and overall mentality are traits the Seahawks covet in their corners.
He added that he models his game as a corner after Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, two of the founding members of the famed “Legion of Boom.”
“I feel like their defense is who I am,” Dunbar said.
Dunbar signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Jay Gruden gets the credit for transitioning the Florida product from wide receiver to cornerback. Over the last five years at his new position, Dunbar has grown into a dependable corner with Pro Bowl potential.
Pro Football Focus graded Dunbar as the third-best corner in 2019. Dunbar’s issue has been his inability to stay healthy. He’s yet to play a full 16-game season, and he’s missed 14 combined games over the last two years.
He and the Seahawks are confident that those injury woes are behind him.
“I feel like I’m at my best right now,” Dunbar said. “I’m good to go. I’m 100. I’ve been 100.”
Dunbar is in a Jadeveon Clowney-esque situation given that he’s entering the last year of his current contract in 2020. He’s hoping that a standout campaign will lead to a major payday next offseason.
“I know what I can do when I’m on the field,” he said. “I believe in me. All of that other stuff will take care of itself.
“I have no worries in Seattle. I’m happy to be in Seattle. I just want to go out and play ball and help the team however I can.”
He confirmed that he’ll begin working at the right cornerback spot. That’s what was assumed all along as Dunbar’s arrival puts Tre Flowers’ role into question. Given Dunbar’s experience playing in the slot and Seattle’s lack of depth at nickel (Ugo Amadi is the only true nickel on the roster), it will be interesting to see how creative the Seahawks get in the secondary.
“Once I know the right side, then the sky is the limit,” Dunbar said. “I’m just hoping to help the team however I can.”
Dunbar is a bit of a wildcard when it comes to setting expectations for his impact in 2020. However, a best-case scenario exists where he transforms Seattle’s secondary and ends up being a foundational piece for the Seahawks defense. I, for one, am eager to see how the next 12 months play out for him.