- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quinton Dunbar’s car might need a new paint job soon.

Last summer, the Redskins cornerback got his white Mercedes Benz redone in burgundy and gold pattern, uploading pictures of it to his Instagram account.

But that post is gone now, along with a lot of other Redskins-related references in the 27-year-old’s social media accounts. Last month, Dunbar, who is coming off a year in which he was ranked by some as among the best in the league at his position, asked to be traded.

It’s a request the Redskins are now reportedly willing to accommodate.

According to Pro Football Talk, the team is now shopping its top cornerback around the league. Dunbar seemed to acknowledge the news Saturday in a tweet.

“Thankful for new beginnings,” he tweeted.

If the Redskins follow through, it would mark a reversal from what Ron Rivera told reporters last month at the NFL scouting combine, when the new Washington coach said he hoped Dunbar would report for offseason workouts in April.

But Rivera said he understood Dunbar’s point of view, adding the two had “a great conversation.”

There are reasons the Redskins might want to move on.

From the moment Rivera came aboard, he’s said that in order to transform a culture, he needed buy-in from everyone.

But Dunbar reportedly was prepared to skip offseason workouts over his contract situation ­— a potential distraction Rivera might want to avoid as he tries to build the Redskins in his image. Of course, offseason workouts have been indefinitely postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

“You’re not going to play for this team, you’re not going to work for this team, if you don’t have the discipline to give us everything you have,” Rivera said in January. “No exceptions, no excuses.”

Dunbar should be a valuable commodity in the trade market. The Florida product grabbed a career-best four interceptions last season and was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the second-best cornerback to play at least 200 snaps.

This offseason, the cornerback market has been reset as Byron Jones (five years, $82.5 million) and Darius Slay (three years, $50 million) became the highest-paid players at their position.

Slay’s situation, in particular, is comparable to Dunbar. Rather than pay him, the Detroit Lions traded the three-time Pro Bowler to the Philadelphia Eagles and received a third-rounder and fifth-rounder in return. The Eagles then gave Slay an extension.

Slay is the more accomplished player, but Dunbar has rapidly improved since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

In his first year, the coaching staff switched Dunbar from receiver to cornerback and by 2018, Dunbar was a full-time starter.

Dunbar, however, has been curtailed by injuries the last two years.

His inability to stay healthy could be another reason the Redskins are exploring options. In 2018, Dunbar missed nine games with a nerve injury in his leg and in 2019, Dunbar missed five games with a hamstring.

In a now-deleted tweet, Dunbar pushed back against injury concerns.

“For the record, I’m 100% healthy,” Dunbar tweeted. “My first 3 years, I (missed) three games. 2018, I work myself back from a injury the head trainer lied to me about and keep me away for getting it test out completely that (led) to me playing additional games I shouldn’t have played in. I’m thankful I (recovered).”

Dunbar’s tweet is now the second time the cornerback has referenced former trainer Larry Hess. When Hess was fired in January, Dunbar tweeted: “Larry gone. What a surprise, not … “

If the Redskins trade Dunbar, they would have a hole at cornerback. Last week, Washington reunited with Kansas City Chiefs free agent and former Redskin Kendall Fuller, signing him to a four-year, $40 million deal. But Fuller is more of a slot cornerback than a No.1 starter.

Washington also has Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland and Greg Stroman as candidates who could start on the outside.

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