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Seahawks S Jamal Adams
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O’Neil: Seahawks show rare whiff of desperation in Jamal Adams trade

The Seahawks acquired All-Pro safety Jamal Adams from the Jets on Saturday. (Getty)

By all accounts, new Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is a heck of a player.

Seahawks acquire All-Pro safety Jamal Adams from Jets in huge trade

He better be nothing short of incredible given the price Seattle is paying to acquire him from the New York Jets.

Seattle traded its next two first-round picks along with next year’s third-round choice, a sweetener that is only partially offset by the Jets’ inclusion of their fourth-round choice in 2022.

Seattle also included safety Bradley McDougald in what is – by any measure – a heck of a haul for the Jets in exchange for a player who clearly didn’t want to be there anymore. This is what teams usually get for elite pass rushers on the trade market. In fact, Seattle didn’t even get this much when it traded Frank Clark to Kansas City a year ago, and while Adams is one of the very best safeties in almost anyone’s estimation, safety is not usually considered as valuable as defensive end.

Of course, Adams had 6.5 sacks last season, which would have led Seattle, so maybe this does provide some punch to the pass rush. Adams is a two-time Pro Bowler and was named an All-Pro this season. He is turning 25 with what amounts to two years remaining on his rookie contract and is that oh-so-rare safety who merited a top-10 selection.

Adams has two seasons remaining on his current contract since the fifth-year option on his rookie contract has already been exercised. He was adamant about wanting an extension with the Jets, but there were indications he might not be as insistent about a new deal right away were he to be traded. Seattle is going to be looking to pay him, though, if not right away, then certainly next season. You don’t trade two first-round picks for a guy you’re planning to have for only two seasons.

The Seahawks have traded first-round picks before. They did it to acquire Percy Harvin from Minnesota in 2013 and dealt their first-round pick and starting center Max Unger to get tight end Jimmy Graham from New Orleans in 2015. Seattle dealt a first-round pick for Deion Branch in 2006 and way back in the 1980s packaged a first-round pick and two later-round choices to acquire quarterback Kelly Stouffer. But this deal will be the first time Seattle gives up two first-round picks to acquire a veteran.

And for the first time since in the decade since John Schneider and Pete Carroll came to Seattle, it was possible to detect at least a faint whiff of desperation in this trade.

After an offseason in which Seattle opted for a quantity of free agents it thought could fit in as opposed to one or two of the highest-quality free agents, the Seahawks went out and got itself a headliner for this defense. This is the kind of move the Rams made last year, trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad trade. The reality is that the Seahawks don’t expect to be picking in the top-10 any time soon, which makes it tough to get a player of Adams’ talents. Just look at Seattle’s own search for safeties.

Over the past three years, the Seahawks have chosen a safety in the second round (Marquise Blair in 2019), the third round (Delano Hill in 2017) and also the fourth round (Tedric Thompson in 2017). They signed a safety in free agency, too, in Bradley McDougald and traded for another in Quandre Diggs just last year.

The fact that they went and traded its next two first-round picks to acquire a safety shows just how satisfied they were with the results. So the Seahawks went and paid the steepest price this franchise has ever paid in a trade that better put it over the top in the division because losing two first-round picks will hamstring Seattle’s ability to help itself any time in the near future.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

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