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Why Seattle Seahawks’ Jamal Adams should be NFL’s highest-paid safety

The Seattle Seahawks are reportedly willing to make Jamal Adams the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported the latest buzz on Adams’ future in Seattle, per NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. Let’s look at why Adams is plenty deserving of a new, massive payday well before his rookie contract expires.

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Even battling multiple injuries, Jamal Adams shined in first year with Seattle

The advanced metrics won’t be kind to Adams when it comes to his play in pass coverage and his missed tackle rate going from 5.4% to 12.6% from 2019 to 2020, per Pro Football Focus, but he was a passionate leader for the Seahawks’ defense nonetheless.

Adams’ mere presence on the gridiron was enough to throw opposing offensive coordinators for a loop. His versatile skill set is extremely difficult to account for, and created opportunities for others on Seattle’s defense to make plays. Eventually, the team’s weak unit came on strong down the stretch.

Look no further than the social media post Adams put up just after the season, courtesy of ESPN’s Brady Henderson, in which he details undergoing multiple surgeries at once:

Teammates were able to rally around Adams even as he missed four regular-season games, too. In his first public remarks as a Seahawk, Adams addressed Breonna Taylor’s murder, which showed he’s a great culture fit in the loose, player-friendly atmosphere Pete Carroll cultivates.

After years of losing with the New York Jets, you could tell Adams was revitalized by his change of scenery in the Emerald City. Seattle wisely recognizes his value as a leader, both on the field and as an outspoken, passionate voice who’ll not back down from embracing a role as one of the new faces of the franchise going forward.

Jamal Adams is a unique pass-rushing threat

Jamal Adams is a unique pass-rushing threat
Nov 8, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the two seasons before 2020, PFF had Adams rated as the No. 2 safety in 2018 and in the top five the next year. Again, as long as he’s healthy — and he can’t get much less healthy than he was this past year — Adams is going to be a force.

With all those ailments, though, bear in mind that Adams still had time to almost single-handedly turn around Seattle’s anemic pass rush, and at least give the Seahawks some belief that they could overcome that major weakness with his help. Last season, he piled up a whopping 9.5 sacks.

Now, some of this is because Adams can line up just about anywhere on the field and shine, even flexing from box safety to linebacker when duty calls. Because he’s so agile, strong and flat-out fast, blockers have a hard time containing Adams when he’s determined to rush the passer.

Consider this: Pittsburgh Steelers superstar T.J. Watt led the NFL with 15 sacks last season. It took him 507 pass-rushing snaps to reach that total. Adams reached 9.5 sacks on a mere 104 pass-rushing snaps.

Not much else needs to be said on this point. Those numbers kind of speak for themselves.

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Seattle Seahawks need defensive cornerstone to build around, and Jamal Adams fits the bill

Seattle Seahawks need defensive cornerstone to build around, and Jamal Adams fits the bill
Dec 13, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) talks with New York Jets players and staff following a 40-3 Seattle victory at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Elite middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is entering his age-30 season. His obvious production, football IQ and top-flight athleticism will allow him to extend his prime, yet Wagner is definitely closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

Other than Wagner, there aren’t many players on the Seahawks’ current defense who they can build around. Adams is the only other man who really falls into that category.

Adams brings to mind the famous Legion of Boom secondary that helped Seattle to its last Super Bowl win in dominant fashion. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are no longer walking through that door, but Adams is, and it won’t take but a couple more savvy signings or hit draft picks before the Seahawks really have something special.

Sacrificing multiple first-round picks to get Adams in the first place meant Seattle was going to have to pay up eventually. General manager John Schneider should just do it as soon as possible so that the contract situation isn’t hanging over everyone’s heads entering training camp, and Adams and the team can have peace of mind.

With Adams locked up, the chances of losing quarterback Russell Wilson should decrease rather drastically. Wilson’s concerns that drove trade rumors this offseason have been addressed to his satisfaction, but Adams’ extension would be a cherry on top so to speak.