What does the Seahawks’ trade for Adams mean for Blair, secondary?
The Seahawks’ trade for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams last week was one of the biggest pieces of news this offseason not just for Seattle, but for the entire NFL as one of the league’s best players was on the move and because Seattle gave up three high draft picks as well as safety Bradley McDougald.
McDougald’s inclusion in the trade was surprising to some as the 29-year-old safety has just one year left on his deal and is set to make nearly $3 million more than a younger safety some could have been included in the deal in second-year player Marquise Blair.
Of the three picks that the Seahawks gave up to get Adams, two were first-round picks. Could Blair’s involvement in the deal have lessened the amount of value in picks that Seattle gave up?
“For the Jets, that would be a cheaper player and also a guy who has got a lot of promise and I would be surprised if he wasn’t part of that discussion,” former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore on Friday.
But even if Blair’s name did come up from the Jets, Wyman said it’s likely Seattle made it clear they wanted to keep him.
“I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks said ‘hey, no, we like this guy and he’s very promising to us,'” he said. “And if that’s true, then that means that the Seahawks feel that Marquise Blair – (here’s) my translation of it – has enough promise and upside that he’s worth keeping over a first-round draft choice you traded away in 2022.”
But what can Blair provide for the Seahawks’ defense in 2020 with Adams at strong safety and Quandre Diggs at free safety?
Blair started three games in the middle of the season and when Diggs was healthy after he came to Seattle from Detroit ahead of the trade deadline, Blair was mostly relegated to special teams and backup safety Lano Hill saw playing time over Blair late in the year. Wyman says even in limited opportunities, Blair showed a lot to be excited about going forward.
“He just looks like a guy who once he gets it down – and I think the Seahawks really value him – that he’s a guy that they were not going to trade away because they feel like there’s a lot of promise with Marquise Blair,” he said. “Do I know this for sure 100%? Of course not, but looking at it from that standpoint and seeing the things that I’m seeing, anyway, that wouldn’t surprise me if the Jets did ask about Blair and they said no.”
Another question on the Seattle defense that involves Blair, especially after the Adams deal, is what happens with the nickel corner spot? Head coach Pete Carroll mentioned Blair will look for playing time there when he spoke to reporters earlier this offseason. If that nickel spot can be set with either Blair, Ugo Amadi or another player, the back end of the defense is already well improved and could help the defense as a whole take a huge step forward after a poor 2019 showing, especially since Wyman believes safety play is “really important” for Seattle’s defense.
“It’ll be interesting to see now who’s the nickel guy,” Wyman said. “And without (cornerback Quinton) Dunbar, we’re not quite sure. But I’m pretty encouraged, because you’re looking at a guy who was a three-time Pro Bowler and (two-time) All-Pro and a captain in Jamal Adams who you just traded for, Quandre Diggs came in and was just a huge difference and that run of games that went from San Francisco (Week 10) through Carolina (Week 15) … where he was playing really well, they got 16 of their 32 takeaways.”
And if the Seahawks don’t play with a regular nickel defense or with a true nickel cornerback, there’s another option to get Blair on the field.
“Are they going to play three safeties?” Wyman asked. “And is your personnel grouping going to have to kind of hamstring what you can do?”
Wyman noted that in 2019, the Seahawks played a lot of base defense with three linebackers, but not much man defense, primarily because of the players that they had. The personnel limited what the defense could do, and he wonders if they put Blair on the field alongside Diggs and Adams that it could impact what the defense can do in a negative way, primarily in coverage.
“I am worried if they go with a three-safety set maybe it makes them have to play a certain way because they don’t have that true nickel cover guy,” he said. “At least one hasn’t emerged yet, anyway.”
Listen to the full discussion from the first hour of Friday’s Bob, Dave and Moore at this link or in the player below.