RENTON — As the Seahawks conducted their seventh practice of training camp Friday, two of the team’s best and most important players — strong safety Jamal Adams and left tackle Duane Brown — remained where they have been throughout.
On the sidelines, watching.
And as the days pile up that Adams and Brown essentially conduct a “hold in’’ — each present but not stepping onto the field — while they seek new contracts, it’s tempting to wonder if what initially seemed like no big deal is beginning to morph into something more serious.
One sign that maybe it is came in a tweet Friday afternoon from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reported that Brown is seeking an extension and “isn’t pleased he hasn’t gotten one, per source.’’
More than the facts of the tweet — it’s been known for months Brown wants a new deal — what may be most noteworthy is the tweet itself, giving off the appearance of someone in Brown’s camp providing a leak aimed at spurring the process along.
The perception, though, is that nothing will happen with Brown’s contract until the Seahawks get something done with Adams.
It was initially taken as a given that the Seahawks would likely reach an agreement with Adams within a few days of the opening of camp, as has been the team’s custom with other big-money deals in recent seasons.
A source said the expectation on both sides was that something would likely get done this week.
Coach Pete Carroll hinted at that when he was asked Monday if Adams might get on the field this week and said “there’s a chance.’’ Carroll also confirmed the two sides have been talking and called the negotiations “amicable.’’
The Seahawks knew from the minute they traded for Adams in July 2020 that they would need to get a deal done with Adams before the 2021 season.
Adams has one year remaining on his rookie contract and is due to make $9.86 million this year as part of an option exercised by the New York Jets in the spring of 2020. Adams, though, had let the Jets know he would like to have an extension sooner than later. The Jets’ unwillingness to negotiate with Adams last summer led to his trade to Seattle.
That the Seahawks gave up two first-round picks for Adams — in 2021 and 2022 — fed the idea that Seattle would basically do whatever it would take to re-sign him. That urgency only seemed to increase when Adams set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back in 2020 with 9 1/2 and helped lead a revival of the defense in the second half of the season.
But even with quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks took negotiations down to the last minute of Wilson’s self-imposed April 15 deadline in 2019.
Adams is represented by Universal Sports Management, which also has a history of patience. USM also represents Buffalo cornerback Tre’Davious White, who after lengthy negotiations in the offseason of 2020, signed a deal last Sept. 5, the week before the season began. The deal paid him $70 million over four years, making him the highest-paid corner in the NFL.
White, though, wasn’t staying out of practice, as is the case with Adams.
Carroll last week noted that Adams was still recovering from offseason surgery on his shoulder and both hands and likely wouldn’t be doing much early in camp anyway.
But Adams also sat out the offseason program, meaning he hasn’t taken part in anything on the field with the Seahawks since the end of the 2020 season. And no matter how Carroll portrays it, the Seahawks would undoubtedly like to get Adams back on the field sooner than later. Seattle holds its mock game Sunday at Lumen Field — which at this point Adams would seem certain not to participate in even if a deal gets done — and then plays preseason games each of the following three Saturdays.
What could be the hang-up with Adams?
The Seahawks almost certainly want to sign him to a four-year extension, which is their standard for second contracts, keeping Adams with the team through the 2025 season when he would turn 30.
Adams undoubtedly wants a per-year average that would surpass that of the highest-paid safety in the NFL — $15.25 million of Denver’s Justin Simmons — while Seattle undoubtedly wants to keep Adams below the $18 million a year of linebacker Bobby Wagner, the team’s highest-paid defender. So, the two sides are likely working on finding a middle ground in the $17 to $17.5 million range.
Adams has not been made available to the media but he’s been visible at every practice, usually walking out of the team’s facility early and standing on the sidelines to watch. Carroll said Adams is taking part in “everything’’ else.
It’s hard to imagine something won’t get done. Adams’ injuries the past year have surely only reinforced to him the value in getting life-changing money now. And Seattle doesn’t want things to get haywire with a player it has envisioned as a foundational piece for years to come.
But with each day that passes, the situation grows a little more curious.
The Seahawks are thought likely to turn their attention to Brown once things get wrapped up with Adams. Brown has one year left on his deal at $10 million. He turns 36 on Aug. 30 and won’t command a long-term deal like Adams. But it’s thought he’d at least like a raise for this season, if not also at least a year or so added to avoid this being a season played with the specter of heading into free agency.
But if it might seem a no-brainer to want to keep Brown happy after the way he has solidified the left tackle spot since he arrived in 2017, Carroll’s comments last week about Brown raised some eyebrows.
Asked if the team was in talks with Brown, Carroll said only “I’m not talking to you about that,’’ which was in contrast to his candidness about the team negotiating with Adams. Some have wondered why the team wouldn’t want to say it is negotiating with Brown as well.
Carroll then noted Brown’s veteran status and that he doesn’t necessarily need the physical taxing of camp practices right now anyway.
But with the team implementing a new offense, the team likely wants Brown to get back on the field before too long.
Neither Brown nor Adams has been made available to the media.
On Friday, that left Adams’ good friend and teammate, Quandre Diggs, to offer something of a statement in his place.
As the two walked off the field and past the assembled media, Diggs noticed cameras clicking, smiled and said, “I see you all got the Adams watch. He’s all right.”
The next few days could go a long way to proving if that really is the case.