There’s been a lot of talk over the last 48 hours about Jamal Adams — and understandably so. He’s a quality player at a good age (turns 25 in October). Aside from his obvious qualities on the field he’s also considered an emotional leader.
It does warrant asking why we’re on chapter seven of ‘will he or won’t he leave the Jets’. It’s possible that the constant drama that surrounds his future is self inflicted. After all, there’s little reason for the Jets to part with a player everyone considers one of their best. Nevertheless here we are — with Adams unsatisfied on contract talks and trying to force his way out of New York.
Adam Schefter tweeted a list of the best teams in the NFL, stating Adams would be willing to be traded to any of them. The Seahawks were on the list. This is all part of the ‘come and get me’ plea that the player is initiating through the media. The Seahawks are listed not so much for any specific reason other than they’re a competent franchise who regularly qualifies for the playoffs with a top quarterback.
Even so, it’s got people talking and even creating wild and wonderful trade scenarios — including players and picks.
The chances of the Seahawks actually making the trade however are remote.
The reality is that safety is one of the few positions where they actually have some depth and talent. The Quandre Diggs acquisition during the 2019 season was a masterstroke. Already he looks like Seattle’s second best player on defense. He’s charismatic and respected. As long as he can stay healthy, a contract extension at the end of the season could be on the cards. Diggs is only 27 and has an opportunity to become a longer term core member of the roster.
At strong safety, they’re only a year removed from spending a second round pick on Marquise Blair. While it’s no precursor to success, it’s worth noting that they took Blair 17 spots earlier than D.K. Metcalf in the 2019 draft. The only defensive back they’ve drafted earlier than Blair is Earl Thomas. That’s how much potential they think he has. He’s also not the first safety to require some time to learn the scheme. Kam Chancellor was redshirted. Earl Thomas had growing pains and simply played anyway because he joined what amounted to an expansion-level roster in 2010.
Trading for Adams would all but write off the Blair pick one year into his career.
They also have Bradley McDougald, who people are already happy to write off and propel off the roster — presumably because he’s not a former high pick or a flashy big name. Yet McDougald has long been underrated. His passer rating when thrown to in 2019 was 58.8 — among the top-15 for all defensive backs in the league. That’s comparable to Tyrann Mathieu (57.8) and Eddie Jackson (57.6). That’s despite being targeted 14 more times than Jackson in coverage.
He actually had a relatively poor end to last season which impacted his statistics. For most of the year he was graded in a similar range to Earl Thomas, who ended up leading all defensive backs in passer rating.
McDougald has also contributed with turnovers — including five interceptions in the last two seasons, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Nobody would argue he’s a better player than Adams. He isn’t. Given the choice of the two players to build around, you’d clearly choose the younger former top-10 pick. Yet McDougald is the ideal player to have in place while you bring along Blair. He’s a competent, productive starter with leadership qualities. If the aim is for Blair to take over the starting role in the next 12 months, this is actually a good situation. He has to earn the job but he has a pathway to achieve that.
By trading for Adams you’re completely blocking his route to start. It’d be the end of his Seattle career. You’d have to pay a first round pick for the privilege plus other picks too — on top of the selection already used on Blair.
It really comes down to this — the strong safety position is not a problem for Seattle. They have a reasonable transition plan in place. As good as Adams is — it’s not a situation that warrants the extreme investment (picks and a massive new salary) it would cost to bring him in.
Diggs, McDougald and Blair — supported by Ugo Amadi — isn’t a glaring weakness. If the Seahawks are going to spend a first round pick in a trade, it should be on the defensive line. That’s the real area that’s going to hold them back in a title run.
The dire situation is highlighted by the fact they still haven’t replaced Al Woods at defensive tackle. At the moment they’re prepared to enter the season with only Bryan Mone and Demarcus Christmas backing up Jarran Reed and Poona Ford.
At defensive end, they’re going to be relying on Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin — plus anything they can get from rookie Darrell Taylor — to try and fix the pass rush problem and make up for the loss of Jadeveon Clowney. Nobody would’ve accepted that situation the day after the Green Bay playoff game. Yet here we are.
Had the Seahawks invested in their D-line in free agency and not acquired Quandre Diggs or Marquise Blair in the last 12 months — trading for Adams would’ve been a smart move. As it is they’ve just got other priorities at the moment.
And before anyone points out that Adams had 6.5 sacks for the Jets last year — remember who he was playing for. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams embarrassingly calls himself ‘Doctor Blitz’. Adams blitzed 90 times during the 2019 season, ninth most in the entire NFL at any position. Baltimore’s Chuck Clark, in a similar scheme, was the only safety who blitzed at a similar rate.
In comparison, Bradley McDougald blitzed 21 times. Even Bobby Wagner only blitzed 71 times last season.
In Seattle’s scheme, Earl Thomas recorded the grand total of zero sacks and Kam Chancellor had two. So Adams’ sack total is unlikely to translate.
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