JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Why Seahawks CB Dunbar’s case won’t be settled anytime soon

Jul 14, 2020, 1:09 PM
Seahawks Quinton Dunbar...
The Seahawks acquired Quinton Dunbar in a trade with Washington this offseason. (Getty)
(Getty)

The Quinton Dunbar story took a strange twist late last week when it was alleged that the Seahawks cornerback’s lawyer, Michael Grieco, paid some of the alleged victims in Dunbar’s robbery case to recant their stories.

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According to court documents, there is visual evidence of an alleged $55,000 payout at Grieco’s office a couple of days after the incident. Grieco resigned as Dunbar’s attorney Monday.

Dunbar faces four charges of assault. What does that mean as far as the chances of him playing this year for the Seahawks, or the status of New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker, who has eight charges of armed robbery against him from the same alleged incident? I’m at a complete loss trying to figure it out.

In a normal year, you would figure the NFL would put both players on the exempt list for a certain period of time. That could happen. But this is not a normal year because of the COVID-19 virus.

The problem in figuring this out is that this case could take years to sort out. That’s right – years. On Tuesday, I interviewed David Ovalle, who is covering this case for the Miami Herald, and he made a stunning revelation about Miami and Dade County, Florida, which is an epicenter of the virus. Ovalle said the area hasn’t had a court case since March and he would be surprised if the area has a court case the rest of the year. With the courts being so backed up, he thinks it could take until 2021 or 2022 for this case to go to court.

Ovalle said that once the courts open, this assault case wouldn’t be at the top of the list to be heard because there will be so many other cases involving murder that would take precedence.

It’s not a matter of if this case goes to court, it’s more a matter of when. Thus, if the NFL suspends Dunbar and Baker, it would have to be an indefinite suspension that could take a couple of years.

There are rumblings in New York that the Giants are considering cutting Baker, a first-round choice in 2019. Ironically, Baker became a Giant thanks to the Seahawks. The Giants traded into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, giving the Seahawks a second-round pick along with a fourth-rounder and a fifth-rounder for trading down.

For the Seahawks, Dunbar was an amazing bonus and probably the best player they acquired this offseason. They gave up a fifth-pound pick to Washington to acquire a man-to-man cornerback who was ranked second in the league by Pro Football Focus.

Dunbar’s coverage ability would help this team get back into more man coverage. Because of the lack of a pass rush last year, the Seahawks were more of a zone team. The trio of Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers would be pretty strong at cornerback.

The charges against Dunbar and Baker are serious, but Ovalle also said there are thousands of people in jail awaiting trial. As serious as these charges are, they were allowed to post bond and be on their own. Baker is allowed to fly out of Florida to go to camp. Dunbar asked for that option last week.

If the league or the Seahawks decide Dunbar shouldn’t be allowed to play, what’s interesting is that the Baker trade with the Giants will allow them to survive. Through trade maneuvering by general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks were able to draft Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi thanks to the deal that allowed New York to select Baker. Amadi is vying for the slot cornerback job. Blair might get a chance to play in the slot along with trying to get on the field as a starting safety.

In this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty. But for Dunbar’s name to be cleared, it’s going to take years unless he agrees to a guilty plea.

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