Before getting into today’s article, if you missed my podcast with Brandan discussing the Jamal Adams trade — check it out here…
The reaction to the deal has been two-fold. There’s a flurry of excitement having acquired one of the NFL’s best defenders. Serious questions also need to be asked about the cost, what it says about the direction of the franchise and whether this is a desperation move to make up for what has been mostly a lousy off-season.
I made a lot of the arguments questioning the deal yesterday, so check out the article if you missed it. Jason Fitzgerald at Overthecap.com also raised some concerns:
I think you can make a case for this being a reasonable use of financial resources as it’s the cheapest way to get a star player if money is the bottom line.
Does that mean I would have done this if I was Seattle? Absolutely not because I can not believe the Jets had any market like this. It is no secret the Jets shopped Adams last year and it is no secret that the highest the bidding went is a 1 and a 3. How do you go from a 1 and a 3 to two 1’s and a pick swap? Especially after the player criticized every single person in the organization in the local newspaper. Not only that but he had a $2.8M roster bonus coming up in a few days (again assuming the Jets are not paying this) which means time was on Seattle’s side.
Seattle has been down this road before with Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham neither of whom lived up to the billing in Seattle and maybe they just can’t help themselves.
It feels a lot like the Seahawks felt they had to do something and Adams was the player who happened to be available. They lost the negotiating battle because they were desperate. They’ve now paid a quarterback, left tackle or pass rusher price for a safety when the position wasn’t even a pressing need.
The move virtually renders the Marquise Blair pick a waste. It was highly unlikely the play of Quandre Diggs, Bradley McDougald and Blair was going to cost the Seahawks a legitimate tilt at a Super Bowl. The issue in Seattle is clear — the D-line, pass rush and what on earth they’ll do at nickel corner. None of those areas were adequately addressed in an off-season that saw the team spend $60m in free agency.
Trading the house for Adams does not solve the problems the Seahawks had.
Many people have argued Seattle hasn’t made best use of its first round picks recently so the compensation doesn’t matter. It’s not an unfair point to make. Yet the broader problem here is what it says about the franchise.
They appear reactionary and a little directionless. Had they completed this trade at the start of free agency in March, it would’ve been a statement of their desire to land Adams. ‘We’ve planned and prepared for this moment, with all of our resources, and this is the player we need’. Instead, the trade has come at great expense days before training camp begins, despite Adams seemingly having been available since the 2019 trade deadline.
Instead of a well thought out plan it smacks of panic. The cost, the timing, the position. It all seems a bit knee-jerk.
None of this is a review of Jamal Adams either. He’s an extremely talented, quality player. Yet to me his addition this late in the process, especially given the cost, just further suggests the Seahawks are making this up as they go along. They had no serious plan to fix the pass rush in free agency. Their draft plan saw them select a linebacker in round one despite already paying $25m for two other linebackers on the roster, having traded up for Cody Barton only a year ago. Now they’ve given up an incredible haul to land a safety.
As Fitzgerald at OTC notes:
Under no circumstance should two 1s be traded for a safety especially an unhappy one.
So how can they justify it? How can they make things right and get this team back on track?
Purely and simply — they have to do something to finally fix the pass rush and defensive line.
You cannot spend two first rounders plus change on a safety and then ask that player to defend the second level behind Rasheem Green and Benson Mayowa. You can’t. For all the talk of the importance of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor in 2013 — they also benefitted from a stacked defensive line.
The current group has more holes than Swiss cheese.
If this really is an attempt to double-down on what worked before and have a quality defense, you can’t make that happen with the current pass rush and D-line. There’s a distinct lack of quality and depth.
Bryan Mone can’t be your primary backup to Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. They need to add someone to replace Al Woods who can legitimately take snaps and be effective. Whether that’s Snacks Harrison, Brandon Mebane or both. They need more at defensive tackle, pronto.
That’s the absolute bare minimum in terms of action. I fear that they’ve made their bed at defensive end. At defensive tackle there’s a numbers shortage. That isn’t the case at end. Mayowa, Green, Collier, Taylor and Robinson with Irvin complimenting is depth. It looks like a problem waiting to happen and the distinct lack of proven ability to create consistent pressure in Seattle’s preferred four-man fronts could be a season-ender. Yet there are numbers there and, unfortunately, they could simply proceed with what they have.
They need more though. We can all see that.
The Jadeveon Clowney ship has probably sailed. The Adams trade actually created cap room for Seattle — about $600-800,000 in extra spending money. Yet they’re still only at about $5-7m when you account for the fact most of the rookies are not signed and they need to save space for injured reserve and the practise squad.
Clowney has surely not held out deep into July and possibly August or September to suddenly take a paltry $5-6m one-year contract. In reality, he’s possibly more likely to sit out the start of the season than do that.
People have touted asking Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett to help create money by turning some of their salaries into bonuses. How much can that create though? Nobody really knows. And if Clowney is intent on landing a deal worth the franchise tag in 2020, they’d need to create millions.
They could, of course, sign him to a longer term deal with a low year-one cap hit. Yet if that was on the table, it’d probably be done by now. The Seahawks, like the rest of the league, appear suspicious of Clowney’s longevity.
The other option is Everson Griffen. It’s unclear what kind of salary he will ask for. Yet this is a player who delivered 35 pressures, 13 knockdowns and 13 hurries last season. He has 74.5 sacks since entering the league. He might be in the latter stages of a fine career but at least he would provide a realistic chance to get after the quarterback in a four-man rush.
Ideally the Seahawks would have landed both months ago, providing a mouth-watering duo and making a serious statement about the need to fix the pass rush. Throw in Darrell Taylor in the draft and this would start to look like the old Bennett/Avril/Clark combo.
They don’t have the money to do that now, having frittered away $60m by giving Bruce Irvin a 32% pay increase, bumping Cedric Ogbuehi’s pay from $895,000 to $2.237m, spending $3.259m on Jacob Hollister despite investing $7m in Greg Olsen then drafting two tight ends, using a first round pick on a position where you’ve already committed $25m to two players, collecting offensive linemen projects and spending $11.796m on David Moore, Branden Jackson, Joey Hunt, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jacob Hollister.
I’ve seen it suggested they could do undo most of this by simply cutting the likes of Moore, Jackson, Hunt and Hollister to create room. This is unrealistic. Hacking away at the depth — including slicing away the backup (or maybe even starting) center or a tight end they committed a second round tender to is just not going to happen.
Neither are they going to cut K.J. Wright. They would’ve saved $7.5m at the start of the off-season and it would cost them $1m to do it now instead. Plus — if he was going to depart it would’ve been at the same time as Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker (days after they’d spent a first rounder on a linebacker). They are not doing it now, to a team legend, limiting his chances of catching on somewhere else.
Jackson could depart to save $2.1m. Cutting Lano Hill and Ethan Pocic creates just shy of another $2m. It’s hardly major surgery though to create the kind of space needed to be bold.
Theoretically they can put themselves in a position to have about $10-13m to spend. That might be enough to get Everson Griffen and a defensive tackle — perhaps even another receiver (Josh Gordon or Antonio Brown).
Something needs to be done though, especially to the pass rush. Otherwise the Adams trade will just be tinsel on an unkempt, sparse Christmas tree.
I’ve criticised this off-season a lot. If they make the moves to fix the problems they have, I’ll be rushing to write a very different article.
Aggressively land the players to fix the D-line and suddenly the entire complexion of the season changes. Suddenly the Seahawks can look like contenders. Suddenly the Adams trade can be shone in a different light.
Otherwise it’ll just seem like a panic move designed to mask what has been a poor off-season.
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