If there was any Seahawks position that appeared set heading into the 2022 season it was safety, where the starters were set to be Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs — each multi-time Pro Bowlers, each entering the first years of big contracts signed over the previous year.

They had dependable Ryan Neal back as a jack-of-all-everything reserve.

But the NFL is one business where the best-laid plans often go awry.

And so it was for the Seahawks safeties in 2022, where Adams played just one half of one game, Neal battled injuries to begin and end the season and Diggs needed a little while to shake off the aftereffects of his broken fibula and dislocated ankle suffered the year before.

The byproduct of the injuries to Adams and Neal meant five players started at least one game at strong safety alongside Diggs.

With Diggs and Adams remaining under contract in 2023, and Neal proving he can be a legit starting safety in the NFL, the safety spot again appears set heading into the offseason — but with the hope for better health.


As we continue our review of the Seahawks position groups, let’s look more closely at the safety spot.



Free safety Quandre Diggs 

Age: 29
Snaps played in regular season: 1,156
Contract situation: Entering second season of three-year deal that could pay him up to $39 million. According to Spotrac.com, his base salary of $13.49 million for 2023 becomes fully guaranteed on Feb. 17.

Strong safety Ryan Neal 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 710
Contract situation: A restricted free agent, as listed by OvertheCap.com and other sources.

Strong safety Jamal Adams 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 15
Contract situation: Has three years remaining on contract signed in 2021. Due to make a base salary of $11 million in 2023 with $2.56 million becoming fully guaranteed on Feb. 4.


Johnathan Abram 

Age: 26
Snaps played in regular season: 171
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Josh Jones 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 375
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.


Teez Tabor 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 102
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Joey Blount 

Age: 24
Snaps played in regular season: 0
Contract situation: Entering second year of three-year undrafted free agent deal, due to make $870,000.

2022 review

In what might have been one of the more overlooked stats of 2022, Diggs did not miss a single defensive snap despite not being 100% healed when the season began.

While no one wanted to admit it at the time, Diggs and coach Pete Carroll acknowledged later that he was still working his way back into football shape the first month or so.

“Just to get back out there and to be playing is one thing, but to have the confidence that you can hit it, plant, drive and do all of the things that you need to do is another thing,” Carroll said after the season. “It took him a while, I think, for him to gain the confidence and return. He was in a return mode for some time during the season. I don’t even know if he would have sensed that, but I think that is the reality of it. Once he got really going, he cranked it up, was all over the place, and played really well.”

Indeed, Diggs had four interceptions in the final eight games, including the pick that helped seal the overtime win over the Rams that got the Seahawks into the playoffs, to make the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year.


After Adams was hurt, Josh Jones took over the starting role with Neal still recovering from an ankle injury. Neal took over the spot in Week 5 and started the next 10 games before suffering a knee injury and missing the final three games, and returning for the playoffs. Neal played well enough to finish the season as the fourth-highest graded safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus (Diggs was 26th of 89). 

Teez Tabor and Johnathan Abram each got starts when Neal was injured late in the season, a merry-go-round that Diggs said created some challenges in on-field communication. 

“It definitely, definitely, definitely tested me because I’m not a guy with a lot of patience anyways, so for me to have to go out there and play with four different safeties and play with my young guys at corner, it definitely would test me at certain points,” Diggs said. “… I think you have a different level of being comfortable when you can look to the left and right and you can see the same guys every week. It just kind of puts you at ease where I know what I’ve got to do and he knows what he has to do.”

2023 preview 

As noted, Diggs is entering the second year of the three-year deal he signed last March, and Adams has three years left on his contract and a $21.3 million dead-cap hit. 

While his injuries have led to some conjecture about his future, that dead-cap hit means Adams won’t be going anywhere in 2023, though the final two seasons of his contract might be more in question.

Neal is a restricted free agent, which means if the Seahawks place a tender on him, they have the right to match any offer or get draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.


To be safe, the Seahawks might use a second-round tender on Neal, which is estimated at a salary of $4.304 million for 2023 (or they can sign Neal to a more conventional contract).

Blount, who showed promise in practice and on special teams in games, will also be back.

The heavy investment in Adams and Diggs means the Seahawks might not do much else at this spot other than retain Neal and maybe sign (or re-signs) some inexpensive vets, unless there’s an enticing prospect the draft — and there could be since this is regarded as a deep class for corners.

Because of the salaries of Adams and Diggs, the Seahawks have a whopping $37.084 million committed to safety in 2023, according to OvertheCap.com, almost $7 million more than any other team, and more than it has committed to any other position — second is receiver, at $35.478 million.

That’s before accounting for whatever the team does with Neal.

The Seahawks will hope the payoff comes this season with a healthy Adams teaming with Diggs and Neal to give the Seahawks one of the better back ends in the NFL — and allow them to use the three-safety package it practiced much of camp this year in which Adams essentially played weakside linebacker.


For now, the first task is getting Adams back on the field from the quadriceps tendon injury suffered against Denver.

In his end-of-season news conference, Carroll said there was no specific ETA for when Adams will return.

“It’s still a long recovery for him,” Carroll said. “We will go into the summer with him still getting back. We have to wait and see how it goes, but that’s not one where he is going to bounce back and be ready next month or something like that. It’s going to take him a while. … I don’t doubt he will get there. I just don’t know when that is going to happen.”

Up next: Special teams