Seattle Just Vastly Overpaid For Jamal Adams

The Jets appear to be clear winners in this trade

Over the weekend, the Seattle Seahawks traded for disgruntled New York Jets safety Jamal Adams. The move was just one of the many blockbuster acquisitions of an already eventful NFL offseason. However, Seattle made a mistake by trading for Adams. Acquiring Adams in and of itself isn’t where the problem lies. The real issue for the Seahawks came with the price they were forced to pay for Adams.

Don’t get me wrong, Jamal Adams is a great football player. He was even ranked as the 20th best player entering the 2020 season according to Pro Football Focus. But at the end of the day, he’s a safety. A safety that only has two career interceptions. A safety that’s known more as just a “box safety.” That’s not to say Adams is a liability in coverage, because he isn’t. His specialty however, is in stopping the run as opposed to being a ball hawk.

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Seattle shocked the NFL by sending two first-round picks and more for Adams. David Dermer/Associated Press

Nevertheless, Seattle decided to pay a king’s ransom for Adams.

The Seahawks sent New York first-round picks in 2021 and 2022, along with a third-round pick in 2021 and starting safety Bradley McDougald in exchange for Adams and a fourth-round pick in 2022. The package of picks is comparable to recent trades involving players such as Khalil Mack and Jalen Ramsay. The Bears sent the Raiders two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick in exchange for Mack, a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick. Likewise, the Rams sent the Jaguars two first-round picks, and a fourth-round pick in exchange for Ramsey. While both of those trades included an abundant amount of picks, neither felt like too much considering the players involved. Mack had been the defensive player of the year, while Ramsay was considered perhaps the best cornerback in the entire league. Both also play premier, impactful positions (edge rusher/cornerback). Adams on the other hand, does not.

Multiple positions prove to be far more important than safety. Including two first-round selections for a quarterback, left tackle, pass-rusher, or cornerback is one thing. Making that same move for a safety is another. Safeties don’t impact the game like those other positions. Just look at Adams’ record while with the Jets. Since Adams joined the team in 2017, New York’s records have been 5–11, 4–12, and 7–9. While New York’s lack of success isn’t all on Adams, it goes to show a safety can’t turn around a franchise like a quarterback or pass-rusher.

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Despite his talent, many felt the Seahawks overpaid for Adams. Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Seattle giving up so much for Adams also looks bad considering what the Steelers gave up to acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, Pittsburgh sent Miami a first-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick in exchange for Fitzpatrick, a fourth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. Whether you consider Fitzpatrick to be as good as Adams or not, he has the numbers to make the argument. Last season, Fitzpatrick had five interceptions, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. Despite that, Pittsburgh gave up far less than Seattle to acquire him.

Seattle fans justify the trade by saying the team has whiffed on their recent first-round picks, so they might as well acquire a player like Adams instead. I can’t really argue with that logic considering the team’s last six first-round picks have been James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin, Germain Ifedi, Rashaad Penny, L.J. Collier, and Jordyn Brooks. Still, the move by Seattle came off as a little desperate. The team wanted to make a splash to keep up with their division rival San Francisco 49ers. Seattle however, traded for a want as opposed to a need. The Seahawks have far bigger holes on their roster than safety, and should’ve traded those picks for a different player.

Seattle’s two weakest units on their team are the offensive and defensive line. Last season, the Seahawks finished tied for the second fewest sacks as a team with just 28 total. As for the offensive line, Seattle’s unit ranks 28th in the league entering the season according to Pro Football Focus. If the team really wanted to improve their roster, they could’ve exchanged those picks for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue or guard Joe Thuney. Both players have been mentioned in trade discussions, and both would’ve been better options for Seattle.

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Seattle’s roster could’ve improved more by trading for Yannick Ngakoue as opposed to Adams. James Gilbert/Getty Images

All this talk about the Seahawks now being Super Bowl contenders after acquiring Adams needs to calm down as well. Yes Adams will improve the team some. Yes Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner are still in place. The team however, may not be as good as its 11–5 record last year suggested. In 2019, the Seahawks won 11 games by one possession, including their playoff game against the Eagles (in which QB Carson Wentz left injured). Many of those games easily could’ve been losses; and it’s unlikely Seattle will be able to win that many one possession games in 2020. Also, the Seahawks finished 2019 with just a +7 point differential. This was the second-worst point differential of all the playoff teams (Houston finished -7), and failed to compare to dominant teams such as Baltimore (+249), San Francisco (+169), and Kansas City (+143). Seattle should still be a playoff team in 2020, but to consider them Super Bowl contenders is a bit much.

Now for the team that won this trade, the New York Jets. While you never want to trade away one of your best players, Adams left New York with no choice. He made it clear he wanted out. Adams was calling out the coach and the general manager. It has also been reported that Adams was reaching out to players on other teams to convince their GM to trade for him. General manager Joe Douglas was left with no choice. Despite many across the league assuming Adams would be traded, Douglas was still able to secure a haul. The Jets were not going to win the Super Bowl this season, and Douglas knew that. Now, New York can use the picks to improve the roster. This could be through the draft, or through trades. Either way, New York is now left with options which is a good place to be. They also won’t be forced to pay Adams’ lofty salary demands. The Jets don’t often do much right, but this time they played the situation perfectly.

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University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist

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