Jamal Adams was acquired from the New York Jets for a high price by the Seattle Seahawks. The franchise, on the other hand, clearly thought his mix of athletic abilities and leadership characteristics made him a good investment.
Since his arrival in Seattle last summer, has Adams lived up to the hype?
On the one hand, considering his second-team All-Pro accolades in his first season with the club, it’s difficult to argue otherwise. At the same time, it’s hard to overlook Adams’ coverage flaws and his reputation for being difficult to handle.
With the standout safety about to get a sizable increase, the Seahawks have just taken a $70 million risk that will almost certainly backfire.
One of the most intriguing offseason stories to watch has been Jamal Adams’ contract predicament.
The Seahawks took a chance by dealing multiple first-round choices (plus some change) for a player who was looking for a long-term contract. After all, the Jets had to sell Jamal Adams because the two parties couldn’t agree on a contract extension.
Unfortunately for the former LSU standout, a change of location didn’t always translate into a better negotiation experience.
Adams entered the offseason with little financial security after receiving Pro Bowl accolades for the third year in a row. He had every right to be unhappy about his 2021 salary, which was scheduled to be $9.68 million under the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
Months of back-and-forth negotiations with the Seahawks, though, failed to result in a new contract for the outstanding defense. Pro Football Talk reported on Sunday that Seattle has no intentions to continue negotiating with Adams.
PFT’s Mike Florio stated, “They feel they’ve made a fair and acceptable offer, and that if he doesn’t take it, he can play out his option year and be franchise-tagged again, for 2022 and 2023.”
The Seahawks have just made a $70 million bet that will almost certainly backfire.
Against Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds catches a pass for a first down. | Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
Despite rumors that Adams could be franchised in the future, this will not be the case.
The Seahawks revealed on Tuesday that they had signed the 25-year-old to a record-breaking deal. Adams’ $70 million contract has a potential value of $72 million, according to ESPN. His four-year contract contains a guaranteed $38 million and a $20 million signing bonus. He is now the highest-paid safety in the NFL, earning $17.5 million per year.
And this is a huge blunder.
Adams brings a distinct set of talents to the table. In 2020, he had 9.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits, which are absurdly high statistics for a defensive back. When he gets to the point of contact, the 6-foot-1, 214-pounder throws a powerful blow.
That isn’t to say the Seahawks should have signed Adams to a deal that pays him like a backup quarterback.
When you examine the three-time Pro Bowler’s major flaw in the context of the current NFL environment, the deal doesn’t seem to be such a wise decision for Seattle.
Adams may be the highest-paid safety in the league, but he isn’t the greatest.
Because the passing game is so important, defenses need safeties who can cover. In that respect, how did the NFL’s highest-paid safety do during his first season in Seattle?
Adams allowed quarterbacks to complete 35 of 45 passes for 411 yards (77.8%). He didn’t record a single interception, which is remarkable for someone who is regarded as an exceptional playmaker. After all, he only had two interceptions in 46 games with the Jets before joining the Seahawks.
Although Adams is a valuable box safety and blitzer, he is not a real pass rusher. It makes no sense to pay him like one since he isn’t expected to go after the quarterback on a regular basis. Adams isn’t a real all-around safety since he doesn’t make enough plays on the field. And he won’t be racking up double-digit sacks every year to justify his $17.5 million contract.
The move will almost certainly backfire on the Seahawks. Adams doesn’t deserve a deal like that until he suddenly transforms into an exceptional coverage player. Seattle lacks a genuine No. 1 cornerback or a dominating pass rusher, and committing an unprecedented amount of guaranteed money to a hybrid player with clear flaws seems to be yet another risky decision by a general manager who has made a string of dubious choices in recent years.
Was Adams deserving of his position as the league’s highest-paid safety?
Even on that point, there is disagreement.
The Denver Broncos signed Justin Simmons to a four-year, $61 million contract earlier this summer, resetting the market. He has a solid argument to be ranked first among the NFL’s greatest safety, given his ability to make plays on the field (16 interceptions and 37 passes defended in 74 games).
Tyrann Mathieu also has a more diverse skill set than Adams. Despite his small stature, the Kansas City Chiefs standout has the ability to blitz, cover, and stop the run. Without Mathieu, there’s little question the Chiefs would not have won a Super Bowl.
Jamal Adams deserved a raise in the end. However, the Seahawks overpaid for a guy who will have a difficult time justifying his record-breaking deal.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
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