Huard: Seahawks could see Dunbar and Griffin competing for payday

Mar 24, 2020, 11:06 AM | Updated: 11:09 am

Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar...

New Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar could be in line for a big payday after 2020. (Getty)


The Seahawks reportedly pulled off a surprising trade on Monday, acquiring cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins in exchange for, at least, a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft.

Rost: What you need to know about Quinton Dunbar

The move signals a competition for the right outside corner job, which Tre Flowers has occupied for the last two seasons. Flowers has impressed at times during his two-year career, but he faded a bit down the stretch of 2019, and had issues with penalties, especially in a playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dunbar, meanwhile, was Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked cornerback in all of football last year, and he and the Redskins were reportedly at odds with one another about a contract extension. If Dunbar earns the starting job, he and Shaquill Griffin, who was PFF’s 13th-ranked corner, could be one of the better, younger cornerback tandems in the NFL, at least for one season.

Dunbar, 27, and Griffin, 24, are both entering the final years of their contracts and both have shown at times that they can be elite corners.

Brock Huard joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant and said playing on the final year of their contracts could cause both Dunbar and Griffin to excel in 2020.

“I’m an incentive guy. I always love incentive,” Huard said. “I think when a guy is highly motivated and incentivized to get a deal, I think you get his very best effort more often than not, especially in the NFL. And you’ve got two corners who are going to be running and sprinting to one contract.”

Byron Jones just signed a long-term deal with the Miami Dolphins worth $16.5 million per year. He is one of 19 cornerbacks in the NFL worth $10 million or more per season according to Spotrac. If Griffin, who just earned his first Pro Bowl nod of his career, and Dunbar play like they did in 2019, it will be tough to pay both of them what they’d demand on the open market.

“I don’t think they’re going to be able to pay both of them,” Huard said. “They can certainly pay one of them after next season and I think Shaquill and Quinton are going to be sprinting towards that deal, sprinting towards the big money that these corners make at $14, $15 or $16 million a year, sprinting towards a salary cap that’s going to be bigger next offseason and just really, I think, sprinting towards impressing Pete Carroll and this staff, saying ‘man, I am the guy that you need to build around.'”

Griffin, who is entering his fourth season, has three career interceptions and had none in 2019 in 14 regular season games, though he had 13 passes defended. Dunbar, meanwhile, started 11 games, a career high, and had four interceptions and eight passes defended. He had nine career interceptions in five seasons.

While Dunbar has been better at taking the ball away, Griffin has been more readily available during his career.

Since entering the league in 2017 as a third-round pick, Griffin has played in 45 of 48 possible regular season games and started in 41 of them.

Dunbar was a receiver in college, similar to former Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman. While Sherman made the transition to defense in college, Dunbar’s didn’t come until he was already a pro after signing with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent.

In five seasons, Dunbar has played in 58 games out of a possible 80, and has just 25 career starts. He’ll also be tasked with learning a new system as he plays outside of Washington D.C. for the first time in his career.

“He has not been terribly available in two years, and I think the biggest key for him is whether that is in training, which will be limited this offseason,” Huard said. “I’m talking about that technique and getting that work in and really understanding what these Seahawks do.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard on Twitter.

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