Jo-Lonn Dunbar: How Good is He?

I noticed yesterday that my colleague, Hans, was surprised by Mike Triplett's analysis of Saints linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar in his free agency breakdown yesterday. And I can't say I blame him, because I was just as surprised when I read it myself.

Here is what Triplett said of Dunbar:

Re-signing Dunbar, 26, will be a priority, but he may not be that easy to keep after a breakout year in 2011. Dunbar started at strongside linebacker, and middle linebacker when Vilma was out with a knee injury. Dunbar could look for a starting job in the middle somewhere else.

Really? Hey look, I like Dunbar just as much as the next guy and I certainly want to see the Saints retain his services this season, but I think Mike is being a bit too nice here. Does being a slightly above average linebacker on a below average linebacker corps make a player starter material on other teams?

So I'm curious to know whether Hans and I are the only ones out there who feel this way or whether the rest of Who Dat Nation is behind us on this one. Is Dunbar really that good? How much do the Saints need to pay him? What other teams might be willing to pay him if the Saints can't afford to?

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