RENTON — The text from Mom arrived on Jamal Adams’ phone around 10 p.m. Seattle time Monday — midnight in Texas, where Michelle Adams had typed out the message to her son.
Mom’s message, in short, was this: Take the deal.
And so he did.
After three weeks of contentious negotiations between Adams, his agents and the Seahawks’ front office, the star safety agreed to a record-setting deal Tuesday morning that prompted his long-awaited return to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon.
“Mama knows best,” Adams said in a news conference later in the day.
Adams, 25, signed a four-year contract extension that makes him the NFL’s richest safety. It’s a deal that could be worth up to $72 million, with $38 million guaranteed and a $20 million signing bonus.
Up until Tuesday morning, Adams had been holding firm on his asking price — essentially seeking an additional $2 million in guaranteed money. The Seahawks made it clear they were not going to offer any more, and that led to a 10-day standoff between the two sides.
Late Monday, the impasse ended thanks to Adams’ mom. She texted him her thoughts on the situation, and he followed up with a phone call home to the Dallas area.
“She said my full name (Jamal Lee Adams),” he said, “and when my mother says my full name, I think I need to pay attention. … She basically just told me that, ‘You don’t have to prove anything else to anybody; you did enough. We’re happy.’
“And as long as my family’s happy, man, and I’m happy and I can come and do what I love to do — that’s all that matters for me.”
In his first season with the Seahawks last year — after Seattle traded a massive haul to the New York Jets to acquire him — Adams lived up to his reputation as a fierce competitor on the field. That proved to be true in his boardroom manner, too.
It was, coach Pete Carroll acknowledged, an “intense” negotiation with Adams. For the player and the coach, those back-and-forth talks became another form of competition.
“I’m competing right along (with Adams) — there’s no time I’m not,” Carroll said Tuesday. “So I’m using everything I got to get these things done.”
When camp started in late July, the two sides were about $4 million apart in annual compensation. The team initially offered to match the deal Denver gave to safety Justin Simmons — $15.25 million per year — and Adams countered with $19 million.
They met in the middle at $17.5 million per year, but Adams’ camp was seeking the $2 million in additional guarantees and wanting to move some of the cash flow into the first three years of the deal.
The Seahawks were holding their ground, and the negotiations hit a dead end on Friday, Aug. 6.
That’s when Carroll summoned Adams to his second-floor office at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Carroll told Adams he was eager to get the deal done and wanted him to start practicing with the team.
Adams also expressed his desire to get the deal done but made it clear he wouldn’t practice until the new contract was signed.
Carroll then intimated that the team might have to consider levying fines if Adams didn’t start practicing.
Adams then intimated that, if that’s how the Seahawks felt, maybe they should consider trading him.
The conversation ended quickly after that, a source with knowledge of the meeting told The Seattle Times, and neither side talked again for almost a full week.
“In this case, we had to really stand our ground … and he stood his ground too. That’s why it took five months,” Carroll said after practice Tuesday afternoon. “It was a real intense negotiation, obviously more so near the end here. There was a lot of quiet time in between and all that.
“But I thought both sides really competed really hard in this thing. And it’s really a great conclusion for us, and for him too.”
Everyone was happy by Tuesday afternoon, and Adams and Carroll both talked about how the personal relationship they’d built over the past year helped nudge the contract over the finish line.
“What I loved about how this was went down (was) Jamal hung with us the whole time. … We talked our way through it, and the emotional part of it, and the challenging part of it, the business part of it — we made it through all of that,” Carroll said.
Added Adams: “Our relationship has always been strong, and it’s just going to continue to get better.”