RENTON — It took a while for the couple thousand Seahawks fans parked on the berm of the VMAC to get their first glimpse this season of safety Jamal Adams.
As the Seahawks began their 2021 training camp — and the first practice or game since the 2019 season with fans in attendance — Adams was nowhere to be seen.
Finally, after about 40 minutes or so past the 1:30 p.m. start, Adams appeared wearing a jersey, hoodie and baseball cap, watching from the sidelines.
That figures to remain his uniform of choice until he gets a new contract, with Adams unlikely to risk injury until his long-term future is secured.
But coach Pete Carroll said afterward that could happen at any time.
“I’m very hopeful that it’s going to get taken care of soon,’’ Carroll said following Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute practice. “Very soon.’’
Carroll said the contract talks with Adams have been “ongoing for some time’’ and “very amicable.’’
And once Adams did take the field, he seemed as engaged as ever, at one point locked in a long conversation on the sideline with cornerback D.J. Reed.
After practice, Adams was among the Seahawks who ventured near the berm to wave at fans — COVID-19 regulations mean that players cannot mingle with fans as in the past, meaning specifically no autographs.
Carroll also said that even if Adams were under contract, he might not be practicing much just yet.
“Well, he’s got some stuff that’s in question,’’ Carroll said. “He had shoulder surgery, and he had surgery on both hands. And so he’s got some stuff that he would be working (on) anyway (health wise) — he wouldn’t be working (on the field) yet. So it’s OK at this time right now. He’s out for the walk-throughs. He’s in the meetings and all that kind of stuff. He’s doing everything.’’
What Adams hopes to be doing soon, though, is signing a new contract that will make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history, topping the current mark of $15.25 million a year of Denver’s Justin Simmons.
The question is whether Adams will blow past that into the $17 million-plus a year range with a contract that figures to have a length of four years. It’s thought Seattle wants to keep Adams below the $18 million a year of linebacker Bobby Wagner, the highest-paid defensive player in team history.
Adams, 25, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, due to make $9.86 million this season.
That Adams showed up seems to prove that the talks have indeed been amicable, though changes in NFL rules technically forbid teams from waiving fines for holding out, so that means few players anymore actually hold out.
That’s why Adams being in attendance, but not risking injury on the field, is easy to view as something of a non-holdout holdout, even if Carroll says Adams wouldn’t be healthy enough yet to take part fully.
With Adams out, Marquise Blair got work at strong safety alongside free safety Quandre Diggs in the base defense, with Ryan Neal also working there.
While Carroll says he hopes a deal is done soon, if there’s any kind of a target date, it may be seven days into camp when teams can go full contact in full pads for the first time.
Left tackle Duane Brown, who would also like a new contract, joined Adams on the sidelines.
Brown did not take part in any on-field drills just like when he attended mandatory minicamp.
The 35-year-old Brown is also entering the final season of his contract, due to make a base salary of $10 million.
Interestingly, while Carroll talked openly about the team negotiating with Adams, he declined to say if the team is negotiating with Brown.
“We’re not talking to you about that,’’ Carroll said. Carroll in the spring had indicated the team would talk to Brown about a new deal.
Maybe it’s simply that the team wants to get a deal done with Adams before moving on to Brown. It wasn’t known Brown wanted a new deal until minicamp, when reports broke stating he desired a contract extension.
Carroll clarified that Brown has no injury that held him out Wednesday leading to the idea that Brown could be making sure he isn’t risking injury until he has a new contract. But Carroll noted Brown’s age and veteran status and said he also doesn’t need to be overworked at this stage of the season.
Carroll said Brown “did the whole walk-through’’ on Wednesday and has “looked great.’’ He also said it doesn’t hurt that “we’ve got extra guys’’ who are getting reps at left tackle with Brown out.
Fourth-year vet Jamarco Jones worked with the starters at left tackle primarily on Wednesday with rookie Stone Forsythe working with the second team.
Certainly, the Seahawks expect Brown to be back as their starting left tackle.
But first is locking up Adams, something the team has understood it would have to do the minute it traded two first-round picks to the Jets for him a year ago.
“He’s in a good place,’’ Carroll said of Adams. “They’ve worked really hard to this point (on his contract).’’
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