While the Washington Redskins have their share of free agents to worry about this offseason, they would be incredibly wise to lock up Quinton Dunbar for the future as well.

Coming into the 2020 offseason, the Redskins have a slew of potential free agents to worry about, including a few of which they should consider re-signing, such as Brandon Scherff and Ereck Flowers.

But well-run franchises always have an eye on the future while they are in the present and generally don’t let quality players get to free agency. One player that still has a year left on his current deal Washington should look at extending this offseason is cornerback Quinton Dunbar.

Currently, Dunbar has one year remaining on the three-year $10.5 million dollar contract he signed in 2018. According to spotrac.com, he will have a base salary of $3.25 million and a $4.4 million cap hit for 2020. But, he could be in for a raise in the future.

Reasons why the Redskins should extend him

There are a few reasons why the Redskins would be prudent in extending Dunbar this offseason. One of them is the position that he plays. With the NFL becoming more and more of a passing league, finding a shutdown cornerback is almost as hard as finding a franchise quarterback. Dunbar has proven that he can be a shutdown corner and rated out among the best in the league this season.

Extending Dunbar would also help solidify a still young secondary for the next couple of years. With the signing of Landon Collins last year, who’s just 26, those two would make one half of a talented group. They are both just getting into the primes of their careers, so having the two of them locked up long-term would provide both stability and continuity.

And, if Jimmy Moreland develops on the inside as a nickel corner, the Redskins’ secondary could be a young, solid group for the foreseeable future.

It’s also important to note that it might actually be cheaper in the long run if they extend Dunbar sooner rather than later. One excellent example of this is their recent extension of Matt Ioannidis. Even though he had another year left on his contract like Dunbar, Washington didn’t wait around and locked him in for a three-year $21 million dollar contract. That is now looking like a bargain as Ioannidis has outplayed that contract to the tune of career highs in tackles (64) and sacks (8.5).

It would also eliminate the potential talk of free agency/lack of a new contract like what guard Brandon Scherff had to deal with this year. With not having to worry about a new deal, Dunbar could then focus on football and getting himself to the next level.

What a Dunbar contract extension with the Redskins could look like

What could a Quinton Dunbar extension look like? There are a couple of cornerbacks whose contracts could be used as a baseline when working out a new deal for him.

One player who we could use for an excellent comparison is Chicago Bears’ Kyle Fuller. Dunbar and Fuller are both 27 and have blossomed while entering the primes of their careers. Fuller signed a four-year, $56 million dollar contract in 2018 to pay him an annual amount of $14 million.

If Dunbar were to sign an extension this offseason and stay in D.C., another contract we could use a baseline is the one Detroit Lions’ Darius Slay signed. Slay signed a four-year, $48 million dollar contract for an annual amount of $12 million. Slay is 28 and was first-team All-Pro in 2017.

While it is unlikely that Dunbar will be among the top five highest-paid cornerbacks in the league, he is going to get paid handsomely for his excellent play on his next contract. Certain positions in football command a premium. Cornerback is one of them.

Just for context, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steven Nelson is the 25th highest paid corner at $8.5 million per year, and Dunbar is a much better player than him.

A fair contract for Dunbar would be somewhere between the Slay and Fuller deals. A 4-year $52 million dollar contract for an annual amount of $13 million could work. Dunbar would then be tied for the ninth highest-paid corner with Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore, who is viewed by many as the best cornerback in the league at the moment.

The Redskins will likely move on from Josh Norman this offseason, so that money could be used on Dunbar’s extension. If Washington is going to pay for a cornerback, why not a homegrown talent who’s in the prime of his career?

It would make sense for Dunbar to sign a four-year deal worth $52 million. I’m predicting he’ll get about $26 million guaranteed and there will be a team option in the final year of the contract for reasons we’ll explore momentarily.

Risks associated with the Redskins extending Quinton Dunbar early

With any big-money contract, there are going to be risks. What risks could there be with extending Dunbar a year early? Arguably the biggest concern with him has been his inability to stay healthy. As mentioned earlier, he is among the best in the league when healthy. But, he’s missed 14 games the last two seasons, so that is a bit of a concern.

Another risk might be he regresses as he ages. Dunbar will be 30 years old in the middle of his next contract. The NFL is a young man’s game, especially in the secondary. And, for the most part, cornerbacks don’t fare well once they get over 30.

That’s why I’m predicting a team option for the fourth year, so Washington can move on from him if his play declines after just three years.

One final risk might be complacency. Far too often, once a player gets the contract they’ve been working for, they lose their drive and appear content. But, as a former undrafted receiver turned cornerback, this should not be an issue with Dunbar as he comes off a driven individual who wants to be great.

 

Source: riggosrag.com

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