Quinton Dunbar is frustrated with his current contract situation with the Redskins. So frustrated, in fact, that he requested a trade or his release from the team on Monday evening.
That news has inspired people to call Dunbar "really weak," a "diva," a "punk," a "snake" and a "clown," among plenty of other things. Overall, attacking Dunbar is the cool thing to do right now in the world of Redskins social media.
It's also flat-out wrong.
Yes, it's OK for fans to have an unhappy reaction to this kind of news, but going as far as to assail Dunbar is completely misguided.
And so, while trying to make fervent Burgundy and Gold supporters change their opinion through one written story is like trying to put out a fire with a squirt gun, it's worth a shot.
To the people going after Dunbar for his recent move, consider these three points.
1) The last year on his contract completely exposes him
There is no guaranteed money coming for the cornerback as he enters the 2020 season. For a player who's seen Reuben Foster go down in OTAs, who's seen what Trent Williams did in 2019 and who's seen Washington's training staff in the past mishandle injury after injury, that's a huge concern.
Dunbar understands that if something goes wrong in offseason work or early in the schedule, it'll cost him. And according to reports, he was making progress with the franchise's previous front office on negotiations, only to see those talks stall since the regime change. That would anger anyone in a similar place.
The easy critique of this is that Dunny signed the deal back in January 2018 knowing what 2020 held. However, he was a depth piece at that time. Since then, he's started when he's been healthy each of the past two seasons, greatly increasing his value and getting to a point where he's currently the defense's best corner.
To put it simply: One source told JP Finlay an average starter at the position is worth around $7 million. Dunbar, meanwhile, is set to earn a base salary of $3.25 million with, of course, none of that guaranteed. He has a right to be upset.
2) He's one season away from what many players dream of
This is an important issue and one that's related to the above one.
The 27-year-old inked his last deal with the Redskins as a restricted free agent, because he had only accrued three seasons in the NFL. That means that, barring an extension with Washington or another club, he's just a little more than 12 months away from hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time.
That's a destination where he could make some fantastic money, and considering his age, it might be his best chance to really cash in while he's in the league. For someone who was once an undrafted wide receiver, imagine how enticing that opportunity is.
So, Dunbar is sitting at home, realizing how unprotected he is in 2020 and also well aware of how close he is to hitting the open market. He's not being a "diva" or a "clown." He's being smart.
3) He's the kind of guy fans should want to keep, not push out
Dunbar, as mentioned, arrived in this league as a wideout. In his five seasons with the Burgundy and Gold, he's switched positions, improved each year and made himself into a really good defender.
He's a competitor, he takes his job seriously and he's not afraid of any challenge or opponent. He's also highly effective and lines up at a premium position. Guess what? Those kinds of players are useful!
Now, his detractors will quickly turn to the amount of games he's missed lately, which is fair. If Ron Rivera, Kyle Smith and others want to extend him, they'll be sure to weigh that factor. Just don't mistake him as soft; he tried to fight through mysterious nerve damage multiple times in 2018.
As a whole, this situation is complicated, and it could be one that's far from a solution.
One thing that's definitely not the solution, though, is to condemn Dunbar's actions. That's embarrassing and off-base. Unfortunately, it's also pretty normal.
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