Clayton: Seahawks have their Legion of Zoom after Jamal Adams trade

Jul 26, 2020, 10:58 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
New Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is already a two-time Pro Bowler at 24. (Getty)

For those who complained that the Seahawks weren’t “all-in” on going for the Super Bowl, the argument ended Saturday.

Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on Seahawks’ trade for Jamal Adams

The Seahawks traded two first-rounders, a third-rounder and safety Bradley McDougald to the New York Jets for safety Jamal Adams and a fourth-round pick.

Even though the Seahawks were pretty well set at safety with McDougald, Quandre Diggs and Marquise Blair, general manager John Schneider was willing to give up a boatload of quality picks for a safety he considers to be one of the best defensive players in the league.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded a first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. For the Steelers, he immediately played like a defensive difference-maker and drew consideration as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Adams is considered to be a difference-maker in the same mold. Schneider and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll built two Super Bowl teams from the back to the front, starting with the Legion of Boom secondary and building around it. In this COVID-19 year, Adams is added to the Seahawks as a member of the Legion of Zoom.

Some compare Adams to a Kam Chancellor-type safety. Though he’s only had two interceptions in his career, he’s had 12 sacks in his three years in the league along with six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. Adams, who is just 24 years old, has also been selected to the last two Pro Bowls.

Last fall, the Jets talked with the Dallas Cowboys about an Adams trade that didn’t happen. Whether or not that started his resentment for being a New York Jet, his desire to leave the Jets in a trade escalated in the past couple months.

He questioned head coach Adam Gase’s ability to be a leader who could take the team to the Super Bowl. He criticized general manager Joe Douglas for not offering him a contract extension. He ripped owner Woody Johnson for accusations that he made racist and sexist remarks in his stint as an ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Back in Seattle, the Legion of Boom was built through the draft with Earl Thomas being the highest pick of the players taken in that version of Seattle’s secondary. Thomas was the first building block of the Seahawks’ championship defense as the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Legion of Zoom, however, is being built both though the draft and the trade. In addition to the trade acquisition of Adams, both Diggs and Quinton Dunbar came to the team for fifth-round draft choices.

Now the Seahawks have four Pro Bowl-quality defensive backs. Dunbar is considered a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback. Shaquill Griffin went to the Pro Bowl last year. Diggs was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2018 with Detroit. Adams has been to two Pro Bowls.

Adams has been angling to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL but might be willing to stay on his Jets contract, which, at the moment, is a bargain. The Jets already paid him a $2,765,292 roster bonus. He comes to the Seahawks with an $825,000 base salary in 2020 and a $9.86 million salary in 2021. He’s hoping to get more than $14.6 million a year in an extension.

Part of Schneider’s thinking behind the Adams trade is that if the Seahawks remain a playoff team, they would not be able to draft a top six talent in the draft like Adams. That was also the Steelers’ thinking in trading for Fitzpatrick.

The Adams trade draws the Seahawks closer in talent to the San Francisco 49ers. Starting Sunday, the NFL Network will reveal the top 100 players in the league based on the vote of players. Acquiring Adams gives the Seahawks seven top 100 players, tying the Baltimore Ravens and the New Orleans Saints.

Apparently, the Seahawks are all-in adding Adams to the family.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

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