In a perfect world — or at least a normal one — the seven Seahawks who were named to the Pro Bowl might actually be putting on pads and helmets Sunday in Orlando, Florida.
Instead, the game was canceled because of the pandemic and players are taking part in a Madden tournament as something of a replacement.
Safety Jamal Adams would be sitting the game out even if it were played. He recently had surgery to repair two broken fingers, part of a slew of injuries that held him down throughout his first season in Seattle. Adams apparently had surgery to repair a torn labrum. (He noted on Instagram he had two surgeries without specifically detailing them, but he was expected to have the labrum repaired.)
Adams spoke extensively about the injuries and his first season with the Seahawks last week on The Bill Simmons Podcast to promote the Madden tournament. Adams suffered the torn labrum late in the regular-season finale against the 49ers and played all 71 snaps in the wild-card playoff loss to the Rams six days later.
“Listen, there are a couple of plays I would have made if I was fully, fully healthy in that game to where we could have changed the whole momentum,’’ Adams said.
Adams was undoubtedly referring to two early completions to Cooper Kupp that set up Rams field goals, including a 44-yarder.
Adams also suffered a what he called a “grade two strain’’ of his groin in the third game against Dallas that held him out of four games, and what he called an AC sprain of his shoulder in the first game against the Rams in November.
But the labrum tear may have been the most frustrating due to its timing.
Adams was hurt when he was hit in the shoulder on a block by San Francisco running back Jerick McKinnon as he rushed on a blitz without about 10 minutes left.
Adams detailed the play on the podcast, saying that he initially saw McKinnon appear to head to the A gap to block linebacker Bobby Wagner. Adams said when he saw that, he felt he was going to break free “and I was going to hit the quarterback, and it was going to be a hell of a play.’’
Instead, McKinnon reversed course, and as Adams said “hit me dead on my shoulder. Knocked my shoulder out of place.’’ Adams’ reaction as he headed to the sideline and afterward made it clear he felt the injury was bad.
Adams cleared up some of why he had such an extreme reaction in talking to Simmons.
Adams said he knew he’d torn his labrum “because I had this injury back in high school on my other shoulder. … I was crushed because not only (the injury), I knew I would not perform like me in the playoffs. That’s why I was brought here. So it hurt, man. It really did hurt.’’
But Adams said he’ll be healthy in 2021, and he and the Seahawks hope there will be many more playoff games to come.
Next year, Adams said, “is going to be my best season. That’s what I’m focused on.”
The 2020 season was Adams’ fourth in the NFL. He spent his first three on losing teams with the Jets before being traded to the Seahawks in July in a blockbuster deal after Adams had made it clear he wanted out.
Adams reiterated to Simmons what he has said often since the trade — he hopes this is his long-term home.
“Hopefully this (is) being my future,’’ Adams said. “Because I love it here.’’
The Seahawks are expected to try to secure that future this offseason by offering Adams a contract extension. Adams is under contract for the 2021 season at a salary of $9.8 million after the Jets exercised his fifth-year option as a first-round pick last spring.
But the Seahawks could extend/restructure that deal this offseason, which would not only keep Adams around a while longer but potentially decrease some of that cap hit for 2021.
Finding ways to create cap room in 2021 figures to be of even more importance for all NFL teams. The cap is expected to be lower than the $198.2 million of 2020 due to COVID-19-related revenue losses this year, though it won’t be lower than $175 million, the floor agreed to by the league and the players.
Adams will likely want a deal that would at least top the $14.75 million average of Arizona’s Budda Baker, a former UW and Bellevue High standout.
But some have wondered if Adams might shoot for more, especially after a season in which he set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with 9.5 while playing just 12 games.
That the Seahawks gave up as much as it did for him — a package that included 2021 and 2022 first-round picks and a 2021 third-rounder — means the Seahawks will be heavily motivated to get something done.
Adams reiterated with Simmons how happy he was in Seattle this season.
“Since Day One,’’ he said. “… When I walked in I noticed a difference. I knew there was a big difference when I walked in and then maybe two or three months later I’m still pinching myself saying, ‘Is this real? There’s no way. The way they run this organization, this has to be trick dice. This is not real.’ They treat you like a pro, man, and that’s what it’s about. That’s how you grow on and off the field.’’
He recalled a one-on-one talk with Pete Carroll shortly after he arrived in Seattle, sitting in chairs outside at the VMAC overlooking Lake Washington.
Adams said Carroll told him, “’I want you to come here and be Jamal Adams. Be the best version of Jamal Adams.’ … That took a burden off my back because I always put it on my shoulders.’’
From that moment, Adams said, “I knew that it was going to be special. And to this day, that’s my guy, man, I’d run through a brick wall for him.’’
The Seahawks hope that’s an attitude that extends to the negotiating table.