Huard: Before free agency, Seahawks have 2 players to take care of first
Leaving the star quarterback out of the equation, Seattle enters the 2021 offseason in a bit of a bind financially as the team doesn’t have as much wiggle room as usual despite 24 players hitting unrestricted free agency. Additionally, the Seahawks have only four picks in April’s NFL Draft, including no picks in the first or third rounds.
When looking ahead to offseason, the players who are most often discussed are cornerback Shaquill Griffin, linebacker K.J. Wright and running back Chris Carson, all of whom have started at key positions for the Seahawks for a number of years and will be unrestricted free agents.
Before the Seahawks try talking to those guys and others about a return, though, former NFL quarterback Brock Huard believes the team has two players they need to sign to long-term extensions first. He shared his thoughts on Blue 88 in the latest Brock and Salk Podcast.
First up is the player who is directly responsible for Seattle’s lack of 2021 draft picks.
“It has to be (safety) Jamal Adams. You have to figure that one out first,” Huard told co-host Mike Salk. “… You’ve already made that move, you’ve already given up the two (first-round picks) and a third, and that is the domino that then sets the table for everything else.”
Adams, 25, came to the Seahawks from the New York Jets and is entering the last year of his rookie deal. His 9.5 sacks led the Seahawks in 2020 and also set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back in a single season, and he needed just 12 games to do so. He was named a Second-Team All-Pro as well.
In addition to the Seahawks sending the Jets their 2021 first- and third-round picks, they also sent a 2022 first-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald to New York in the move.
Adams is currently set to make just under $10 million in 2021 per Spotrac, and he likely will be looking for a deal that makes him the highest-paid safety in NFL history. That title currently belongs to Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker, who signed a four-year, $59 million deal last offseason.
Because of what Adams cost the Seahawks to acquire and his play on the field, Huard said it’s clear getting him inked to an extension is what Seattle must do before trying to re-sign any of their own pending free agents.
“Nothing can really be done, no other move can be made until you take care of the biggest piece of the pie for this team, and that is going to be Jamal Adams,” he said.
And after that deal is done and it’s clear how much cap space is left, Huard thinks another player on defense deserves a new deal.
“For me, the next guy would be Carlos Dunlap,” Huard said.
Dunlap, who turns 32 on Feb. 28, came to the Seahawks at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Bengals and quickly helped turn the pass rush around. Dunlap had five sacks in eight games after the trade and Seattle’s pass rush quickly became a strength, with the team finishing seventh in the NFL in sacks.
Dunlap and the Seahawks moved money around on his current deal to make the trade work, but he is now due to make over $14 million in 2021, though none of it is guaranteed making Dunlap a potential cut candidate. Rather than cutting Dunlap and hoping to re-sign him, Huard thinks his play showed he’s worthy of a new deal, which could help free up money in 2021.
“He bid on himself, he was right,” Huard said. “But I think you’d probably like to structure that and instead of a one-year deal (turn it) into a favorable three-year deal.”
Even with Wilson’s comments about pass protection and key guys like Wright hitting free agency, Huard thinks Adams and Dunlap are the team’s priorities for the Seahawks in the short-term.
“Those are the first two pieces, before you go out in free agency or you look at that offensive line, you have to figure both those two guys out first,” he said.