Lions to sign Quinton Dunbar; Gives young secondary experience

Quinton Dunbar #23 of the Washington Football Team (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Quinton Dunbar #23 of the Washington Football Team (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

This offseason, the new regime for the Detroit Lions opted to part ways with several players. Two of them happened to be starters at the cornerback position.

The Lions cut both Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant earlier this year. Coleman started 15 games for Detroit over the past two years and was the NFL’s highest-paid slot corner when he inked a four-year, $36 million deal with the Lions in 2019.

Detroit signed Trufant to a two-year, $21 million contract last March after he was released by the Atlanta Falcons. But a hamstring injury limited the 2015 Pro Bowler to only six games last season in his lone stint in the Motor City.

Their exodus left the Lions very inexperienced at the position. Second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye started 15 games for Detroit in 2020, by far the most consistent of the group. Oruwariye racked up 53 total tackles, seven pass deflections, and one interception.

The Lions’ top draft choice from last year, Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, underwhelmed in his first season in Detroit. The third overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft started a mere six games as his rookie season was plagued by inconsistency and injures. Okudah posted 47 combined tackles, two pass deflections, and one interception.

With both Coleman and Trufant gone, Oruwariye and Okudah figured to be penciled in as the expected starters at cornerback this upcoming season. Mike Ford and the recently-signed Corn Elder are also in the mix. And the presence of a new defensive coordinator in Aaron Glenn, who himself was a three-time Pro Bowl NFL cornerback, figured to aid in their development.

But now it appears the Lions have decided to add a bit more experience in the mix. On Monday night it was reported that Detroit has agreed to sign free-agent veteran cornerback Quinton Dunbar. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Dunbar used to play for the Lions’ new defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant early in his career at Washington.

Originally undrafted out of Florida back in 2015, Dunbar found a home in Washington, spending his first five NFL seasons there. After starting a career-high of 11 games in 2019 and leading the team with four interceptions, Dunbar was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last March.

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The 28-year old Dunbar was placed on the NFL Commissioner’s Exempt List last summer due to arm robbery charges that were later dropped. A knee injury would limit him to just six games in Seattle, where he recorded 30 combined tackles, five pass deflections, and one pick for the Seahawks in 2020.