RENTON — Concern yourself with the potential vulnerability of the Seahawks’ cornerbacks. Fret about whether new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron can reconcile quarterback Russell Wilson’s desire to “cook” with coach Pete Carroll’s deep-seated love of establishing the run. Worry about whether the revamped offensive line will be able to protect Wilson to his satisfaction.
But here’s my unsolicited advice to Seahawks fans: Don’t waste too much brainpower obsessing over the still-unresolved contract negotiations between the Seahawks and safety Jamal Adams.
That’s not to say that it all couldn’t still go off the rails and turn into a major imbroglio. Any time a player as integral as Adams is seeking a major payday, there’s potential for complications. And Adams showed in New York that he’s fully capable of raising a first-class stink. Mind you, that was with two years left on his rookie contract. Now he’s down to one year remaining.
But there are simply too many reasons for this to be resolved satisfactorily, and too many signs that it’s headed in that direction, to freak out. That’s the case even with Adams not present at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center this week for mandatory minicamp — which Carroll deemed an excused absence after it was revealed that Adams had to tend to a family matter.
Here’s why I’m reasonably confident that this isn’t headed to some kind of bitter showdown. It starts with what you’re NOT hearing. No rancor. No war of words, like Adams had when the Jets wouldn’t address his contract situation, and he let the world know how ticked off he was.
Instead, you have Carroll’s comments Tuesday: “It’s been ongoing, and it’s been amicable throughout. We recognize that he’s been a fantastic football player, and we’re in the midst of a big contract process. But I know he knows he’s been treated with a lot of respect, and he’s been very respectful toward the club as well.
“There have been good talks. We just haven’t been able to get it settled at this point, but it’s coming. We expect him for (training) camp, and everything should be fine.”
That’s hardly throwing down the gauntlet. Carroll, of course, would find the silver lining in the most dire of circumstances. But consider the words Tuesday of Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, one of Adams’ closest friends.
“It’s getting worked out,” Diggs said in a Zoom call. “It’s gonna be worked out, and he’ll be here. So I don’t haven’t any concern. I talk to him every day, and there’s no concern on my end.”
A few things to factor in. One is Adams appeared to have a genuine love affair with Seattle from the moment he was traded last July. Remember what he said that day? That he cried “tears of joy” when he heard he was going to the Seahawks. And he planned to retire here. And, “this is my calling … I’m here to stay.”
Those feelings seemed to solidify as the season progressed. Before a Week 14 game in December against his former team, the Jets, Adams said he was “beyond happy” with the Seahawks and Seattle.
And in a podcast with Bill Simmons after the season, Adams said he’d “run through a brick wall” for Carroll, adding, “I knew there was a big difference when I walked in. And then maybe two or three months later, I’m still poking myself saying, ‘is this real? There’s no way they run this organization like this. This has to be trick dice. This is not real.’ And they treat you like a pro, man. That’s what it is about. That’s how you grow as a person on and off the field.”
We all know that in sports, nothing can turn warm feelings into seething animosity quicker than a money dispute. And there are numerous tricky aspects to this negotiation. Adams is deemed a safety for purposes of salary standards but no doubt wants to be paid as a hybrid defensive star whose ability to rush the passer — he had 9.5 sacks in 2020, an NFL record for a defensive back — puts him in a special category that transcends the safety benchmarks.
The Seahawks over the years have shown they have an established way of approaching contract negotiations and will not budge from their position once they make what they feel is a fair offer. Safety Kam Chancellor, among others, learned that the hard way during his holdout in 2015.
But the fact that this is unresolved in June is hardly out of the ordinary for the Seahawks. In negotiations with players who have one year left on their contract, as Adams does, they historically tend to get resolved in July as training camp approaches. So this hasn’t even reached the crisis stage yet. Beyond that, Carroll said Tuesday that even if he had shown up this week, Adams would have been unlikely to practice fully as he recovers from two offseason surgeries.
But we all know the biggest reason the Seahawks will figure this out: Because they simply have to. The Seahawks invested far too much in Adams’ acquisition (two first-round draft picks, a third-rounder and safety Bradley McDougald), and have far too great a need for his services in 2021 and beyond, to make it justifiable to allow this to devolve into an acrimonious stalemate.
Yes, that may give Adams leverage that Seahawks players didn’t have in the past. But Carroll and general manager John Schneider knew what they were getting into when they made the deal. They’re not going to let it slip away.