A year after the Seattle Seahawks traded two first-round picks in a blockbuster deal for Jamal Adams, efforts to retain the star safety beyond the 2021 NFL season aren’t going well.
Adams, the No. 6 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Set to make $9.86 million this season, the All-Pro defender wants his next deal to set the market for his position.
Seattle wants to keep Adams, especially after what it already gave up for him. The 25-year-old was very productive for them this past season, recording 9.5 sacks and three pass deflections in 12 games. While there is genuine interest from both sides in getting a deal done, NFL insider Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday that there is a lot of ground to cover.
“The Seahawks are committed to getting this done, but I’m told it has been a bit slow-going. This is a situation that could bleed through training camp, even possibly close to Week 1. It’s complicated, because Jamal Adams has some leverage. He knows the team gave up two first-round picks to get him, and he’s trying to reset the safety market in a big way. “ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Seattle Seahawks DB Jamal Adams contract situation (H/T Bleacher Report)
It’s a situation the New York Jets knew would happen. While Adams was equally involved in forcing a trade, the Jets didn’t feel comfortable making him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL given the state of their franchise and his specific value.
Adams is a great player and there isn’t a better defensive back than him at rushing the passer. But, per Pro Football Focus, he also surrendered a 121.7 passer rating when targeted in coverage this past season and has proven he isn’t a traditional safety.
In comparison to his peers, it’s understandable why a team might hesitate to reward him with a record-setting contract. Justin Simmons ($15.25 million), Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million) and Tyrann Mathieu ($14 million) all generate turnovers and make plays in coverage.
Adams can point to his production as a pass rusher, an incredibly valuable skill to have. Given his youth and leadership abilities, these factors would also play a huge part in deciding his next contract.
Realistically, the Seahawks are likely looking at a four- or five-year contract worth at least $18 million annually. It would dramatically change the contract landscape for safeties, but is a reflection of the rising 2022 salary cap.
In the end, the Seattle Seahawks won’t have a choice. The franchise can’t justify trading a pair of first-round picks for a defensive back it only kept around for two seasons. Adams knows that and will use his leverage to set his own price.