Quinton Dunbar’s rocky first year with the Seahawks is over, as coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that the cornerback will have knee surgery and won’t return this season.
Dunbar can become an unrestricted free agent, so it’s possible his first year with the Seahawks could also be his last, especially because they have found an able replacement at right cornerback in D.J. Reed.
Dunbar was acquired from Washington in March for a fifth-round draft pick. He was coming off a 2019 season in which many thought he had played at a Pro Bowl level before missing five games because of a hamstring injury.
Dunbar played just six games this season, and it was a year that went off track from the start.
Dunbar was charged in May in connection with an armed robbery in Florida. All charges were dropped, but he was placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list and missed the first two and a half weeks of training camp.
After arriving he battled knee issues, playing every snap in only one game (a loss at Arizona). He was inactive for two early games and after struggling to make it through a game at Buffalo was placed on injured reserve Nov. 19.
Dunbar returned to practice two weeks ago, with the Seahawks hoping he could play again.
“He’s going to get his knee fixed,” Carroll said. “He just couldn’t make the turn. He tried really hard the last couple weeks, and he just can’t get over the hump on it.”
Dunbar allowed a passer rating of 111.0 in his six games, almost double the 61.2 he gave up in 2019 with Washington, according to Pro Football Reference. He allowed 35 completions on 54 targets for 491 yards and four touchdowns.
Reed has started the past three games at right cornerback and figures to remain there. The Seahawks also reported that Tre Flowers returned to practice Wednesday after being on IR because of a hamstring injury. Flowers has started seven games this season and was the starter at right cornerback the previous two years.
Carroll said this week that Reed “deserves” to keep playing, and he seems likely to remain in the starting role.
Reed has allowed a passer rating of just 78.7 this season and recorded his second interception of the season in Sunday’s 20-15 win at Washington.
Washington turned the draft pick it received for Dunbar into linebacker Khaleke Hudson of Michigan. Interestingly, Hudson had played only one defensive snap all season before starting Sunday’s game against the Seahawks because of injuries to other players. He had eight tackles.
Dunbar wanted out of Washington after making it clear he was unhappy with his contract. He had a $3.25 million base salary for this year.
The assumption when the Seahawks traded for him was that they were likely to want to re-sign the 28-year-old Dunbar and make him a long-term fixture in the secondary, some thinking a secondary that featured Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin at cornerback and Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs at safety could be among the best in the NFL.
That quartet started just two games together this season — the first two.
Dunbar’s injury-riddled season and the emergence of Reed could change the Seahawks’ thoughts on what it wants to do with the secondary in the future. Reed remains under contract through the 2021 season on his rookie contract signed when he was drafted in the fifth round by the 49ers in 2018, and he is due to make a $920,000 base salary next year.
With Griffin also a free agent and the Seahawks expected to offer an extension to Adams, the Seahawks could use a bargain starter in the secondary. They may have found it in Reed, especially with Flowers also under contract through the 2021 season on his rookie deal. Diggs is also under contract through 2021.
As for Dunbar, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said it was unfortunate the Seahawks didn’t get a chance to see him at his best.
“It felt like from the day he got here he wasn’t 100%,” Norton said. “ … You can tell he’s got some really special stuff about him. He was just unable to continue it over a long period of time.’’
Reed, five others miss practice
Six Seahawks sat out practice Wednesday due to injuries, including defensive tackle Jarran Reed (chest). Reed played 62 snaps Sunday, and Carroll did not mention the injury.
The other five were right tackle Brandon Shell (ankle), left guard Mike Iupati (neck/resting vet), running back DeeJay Dallas (ankle), guard Phil Haynes (groin) and safety Damarious Randall (foot).
Four others were limited — left tackle Duane Brown (knee/resting vet), running back Chris Carson (foot), defensive end Carlos Dunlap II (foot) and receiver DK Metcalf (load management).
Carroll said the hope is that Shell — who has missed three of the past four games — will practice Friday and have a shot to play Sunday. But he noted the team was pleased with the performance of backup Cedric Ogbuehi in Sunday’s game.
“We feel fortunate that he had a nice game going into this one, but we’ll see what happens with Brandon,” Carroll said.
Carroll said Dunlap is expected to play against the Rams.
Taylor may practice next week
Carroll said second-round draft pick Darrell Taylor, a defensive end out of Tennessee who has been on the Non-Football Injury list all season, is “going to try to practice next week.” Taylor has been rehabbing his leg following surgery to repair a stress fracture last January and recently had an injection that the team hoped would aid in his recovery.
Carroll said Taylor has also consulted “a number of doctors” to feel comfortable about trying to return.
“Now that we have that behind us I think he’ll get a chance to see if he can jump back sooner than later,” Carroll said.
Mone returns to practice
The Seahawks could get more defensive help soon with the return to practice of defensive tackle Bryan Mone, who has been out since the Buffalo game because of an ankle injury.
The Seahawks have used veteran Damon “Snacks” Harrison in Mone’s place as a rotational tackle since, and they could have a tough decision to make on how to construct the roster when Mone returns.
“He looked really good in the walk-through today,” Carroll said. “That’s all I’ve seen of him, other than you know what we’re seeing through the training work. He’s got to practice this week and have a good go at it, but he’s got a chance (to play Sunday).”
- The Seahawks made official the signing of veteran offensive lineman Alex Boone to the practice squad. Boone has not played since 2017 but has 86 career starts and played for the 49ers when offensive-line coach Mike Solari was an assistant there.