With veterans Bradley McDougald and Quandre Diggs set as the starters for the 2020 season and second-year player Marquise Blair waiting in the wings, safety wouldn’t appear to be a real pressing need for the Seahawks.
But that won’t stop the speculation that Seattle could be in the mix for disgruntled star safety Jamal Adams of the New York Jets, who has made it clear he wants out if he’s not going to get a new contract.
Especially after it was revealed Thursday that the Seahawks are on a list of seven teams to which Adams would consent to be traded.
The list, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, also includes the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
The revelation of the list came an hour or so after it was reported by a few different outlets that Adams has told the Jets he wants to be traded, frustrated by the team’s inability — or desire — to give him the kind of contract extension he wants.
Adams, the number six overall pick out of LSU in 2017, has proved worthy of that selection in three seasons in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl each of the last two years and being named an All-Pro in 2019.
Adams is under contract through the 2021 season after the Jets recently exercised an option on his initial rookie deal. He is due to make a salary of $825,000 in 2020 (having gotten a bonus of more than $14 million when he signed in 2017 as part of his slotted rookie contract) and a salary of $9.86 million in 2021 per the exercised option, which are part of the contracts of first-round picks.
But Adams wants the Jets to rip those years up and give him a contract now that would rival those of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL (Eddie Jackson of the Bears is listed as the highest-paid safety in the NFL on an annual basis at $14.6 million per season).
While angling for a new deal Adams has not been taking part in the Jets’ offseason program, and appears to be setting the stage for a possible holdout by now requesting a trade.
In McDougald and Diggs, Seattle has two veteran safeties already making a significant salary — McDougald has a cap hit of $5.402 million in 2020 and Diggs is at $5.168 million.
And in Blair they have an apparent replacement for 2021, if desired, for McDougald, who will be a free agent after this season.
Diggs is under contract through the 2021 season.
The thought has been Seattle is setting up Blair to take over for McDougald alongside Diggs in the 2021 season while serving as a backup and also in nickel and dime packages this season.
But Adams would obviously be tempting.
While he’s already been named to the Pro Bowl twice he doesn’t turn 25 until October.
And he has also proven himself to be among the most versatile safeties in the league as his NFL career has progressed.
In ranking him as the 32nd best player in the NFL last season, Pro Football Focus wrote this about how Adams was used: “Jamal Adams has become one of the game’s most versatile weapons on defense. In a league that is trending ever more towards matchup problems on offense, Adams is one of a new breed of defender that can solve those problems on defense. This season, Adams spent significant snaps at free safety (297), in the box (401), in the slot (131), lined up out wide as a boundary corner (34) and even on the defensive line as a legitimate edge rusher (96), and he was one of the most effective defenders in the game. As a pass-rusher, he racked up 25 total pressures from 101 rushing snaps, by far the most pressure and the second-most rushing snaps of any safety.”
Any team could use that, and the addition of Adams would go a long way toward helping Seattle get back to the kind of secondary dominance it had during the Legion of Boom days.
The price, though, wouldn’t be cheap both in what they’d have to pay Adams (probably in that $14-15 million range) and to the Jets to get him.
Since he has two years remaining on his contract, New York can be patient, which probably plays into why Adams is striking early with a trade request.
The Jets would likely want a first-round pick at the least, but might also want another fairly high pick thrown in.
Seattle does have some salary flexibility with McDougald and Diggs, and almost certainly would want to get rid of one or the other in any trade to clear out some cap room.
The Seahawks could clear out roughly $4.1 million in cap space if they released/traded McDougald, while Diggs has no dead salary cap money for either of the next two years, meaning Seattle could save all of his cap hits $5.1 million and $5.5 million for the next two years.
And Seattle has plenty of cap space going forward with Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Jason Myers the only non-rookies under contract beyond the 2021 season.
Seattle doesn’t have a lot of cap room for 2020 but that could be worked around, and reports have also stated that depending on the team, Adams wouldn’t require that he have a new contract immediately.
The Seahawks could also maybe dangle a package of high picks and Blair, who has three more seasons remaining on his rookie deal.
Adams’ salary demands are obviously a cause for pause when it comes to any potential trade, however.
But as the Jadeveon Clowney trade showed, the Seahawks aren’t adverse to making a deal and basically deciding to let the long-term contract part of things sort itself out later.
And the Clowney trade, as well as those for the likes of Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson the last few years, as well as the oft-stated proclamation of Pete Carroll and John Schneider to “never say never,” all serve as evidence that Seattle is likely to at least to at least take a look.
If nothing else, put it on the list as something else to watch once training camp grows close in late July.