Seahawks Q&A: Stacy Rost answers your questions about the Jamal Adams trade and Seattle’s plans

Jul 29, 2020, 8:20 AM
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
The Seahawks gave up a lot in a trade for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams. (Getty)

Minutes after news broke that the Seahawks had acquired All-Pro safety Jamal Adams in a trade with the Jets, the first question in the minds of fans was answered: How much did they give up? Ultimately, it was two first round picks, a third-round pick in 2021, and veteran safety Bradley McDougald.

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And while there was plenty of excitement to follow, there were also a few more lingering questions from fans. This is an attempt to answer a few of those, all of which were submitted from Seahawks fans to this tweet:

@realKellyMalone: Adams has a fifth-year option next year. Do you think the Hawks will extend him before?

I got quite a few questions about whether or not the Seahawks will extend Adams, who has two years remaining on his current rookie contract. When the Seahawks have awarded extensions, those have typically come ahead of the final year of a player’s deal. None of us know what the Seahawks are going to do, but I’ll say this: There’s absolutely no way John Schneider makes this deal – the most the Seahawks have ever given up in a single trade – if he doesn’t plan on having Adams on this roster long-term. The Seahawks have had trades that didn’t work out but typically they’re a fairly shrewd front office.

@JakeAnonymous: What kind of contract extension is he looking for?

Adams will almost certainly be looking to be paid like the best safety in the game, which means a contract that exceeds that of Eddie Jackson. The 26-year-old Jackson signed a four-year, $58.4 million extension with the Chicago Bears in January that will pay him an average salary of $14.6 million. estimates the market value of a contract for Adams to be six-years and $88.4 million (an average salary of $14.7 million).

Adams could be looking to be paid like one of the best defensive players in the NFL, period – which he is. But the league doesn’t value safeties the way it does other positions on defense and there’s quite a big gap between the top salaries at safety and the salaries of players up front, particularly the ones rushing the quarterback. The league’s richest contracts on defense belong to Chargers’ edge rusher Joey Bosa ($27 million per year), Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett ($25 million), Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack ($23.5 million), Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5 million) and Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence ($21 million). The only defensive back to crack the top 20 is Eagles cornerback Darius Slay ($16.6 million), who ranks 20th in average salary among defensive players.

Adams had more sacks than any other defensive back in the league last year (6.5) and that’s incredibly impressive – in fact, he had more than any other member of the Seahawks’ defense. But teams add a lot of value to sacks when it comes to contracts, and that total still trails that of Donald (12.5), Joey Bosa (11.5), Garrett (10), and Mack (8.5).

@Preston93236078: Do you think the Seahawks not hitting on first-round picks the last few years made it easier for them to part with those picks?

I get this argument. The Seahawks have typically traded back and the players they have chosen have generally underwhelmed fans (out of fairness, I’ll leave 2020 pick Jordyn Brooks out of this one). Rashaad Penny hasn’t been the player he was at San Diego State and L.J. Collier, who faced a ton of pressure to help replace the loss of Frank Clark and the temporary absence of Jarran Reed last season, couldn’t live up to expectations either. But generally, I think the Seahawks front office and coaching staff has far more faith in these picks. So while some consider them busts, I think there’s still plenty the Seahawks are excited about and expecting to see from these two players in particular.

More than anything, knowing they’d probably be picking later would make the trade tempting. Adams was the sixth overall pick in 2017. It’s been a decade since the Seahawks selected above No. 15. How much would it cost them to get a player of Adams’ caliber, especially at just 24 years old? When would they ever get a chance to select a player that high?

That said, a late first-rounder is no small sum. Even if it’s No. 27 overall, no pick has more value than the one you have first on draft day. Trading that pick gives you more chances to hit on a player in the middle and later rounds and more young talent to add to your roster. Barring another trade, the Seahawks will lose that opportunity until 2023.

@kkhbro: Does this affect the money that might be available to sign Jadeveon Clowney?

Not for this year. A few recent roster moves gave Seattle a bit more flexibility there, too. OverTheCap and Spotrac give the Seahawks anywhere from $15 to $17 million in salary cap space, though that doesn’t include rookie deals or salaries for practice squad players, among other things, so the actual amount they have to spend is a bit lower. Point is, for 2020 it’s not drastically different than it was before the trade for Adams. They may need to make a corresponding move if they pay Clowney to free up some more space, but if they want to do it, they can make it happen.

@DrJoeMcK: Does it really make sense to trade draft picks to boost a season that may not even happen or be fully completed? Seems this would be the year to be collecting for next year. At least he has two years on his contract and dropping Bradley McDougald’s contract saves money.

The uncertainty of the NFL and college football season makes all of this weird, doesn’t it? On the one hand, many are questioning whether or not the NFL will even make it through a 16-game schedule (a recent COVID outbreak in the Miami Marlins’ clubhouse certainly didn’t ease fears about the reality of playing professional sports in the middle of a pandemic). On the other hand, are teams assigning quite as much value to draft picks in a year that may not see a complete college football season?

I’m going to do what seems like a cop out and say I don’t have an answer for this. No one does, because we don’t know what the next few months will look like. But keep this in mind: Players have until Aug. 3 to opt out of the NFL season. Players who do not will play out this year of their contracts. So 16 games or no, players will age a year, contracts for players and coaches and GMs will move into the following season, and because of all of that, windows will continue to inch toward closing.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

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