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What’s Jamal Adams’ potential dispute with Seahawks extension offer? Salary cap expert Joel Corry explains

Jamal Adams is entering the last season of his current contract with the Seahawks. (Getty)

One of the Seahawks’ top priorities this offseason was to agree to a contract extension with Pro Bowl strong safety Jamal Adams, whose current deal is only through the 2021 season.

Rost: Hurdle for Adams, Seahawks is issue of NFL’s pay structure

Is there a problem? While Adams’ absence this week from mandatory minicamp is reportedly excused by the Seahawks due to a personal matter, there still might be, as Joel Corry, a former agent who is now an NFL contracts and salary cap expert for CBS Sports, explained Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

Corry, who wrote a recent piece for CBSSports.com about what is likely holding up Adams agreeing to an offer from Seattle (read here), said the biggest issue has to do with the position Adams played and where the market for safety currently sits. Justin Simmons of the Denver Broncos is the NFL’s highest-paid safety right now after he signed a four-year deal worth $61 million, giving him an annual salary of $15.25 million. While Seattle may be willing to give Adams a similar contract, the fact that he’s not your typical safety means Adams probably wants more.

Related: Will Jamal Adams make noise instead of signing extension?

“I suspect based on things which were reported last year, Jamal Adams is looking to be paid like one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL,” Corry said. “There are currently 10 defensive players making $20 million per year – nine of those guys are defensive linemen, pass rushers, and the other one is Jalen Ramsey, a cornerback.”

Players with strong sack numbers tend to get paid the most on the defensive side of the ball, and Adams has an argument that no one player at his position does. That’s because not only did he lead the Seahawks and tie for 11th in the NFL with 9.5 sacks last season, but that total set the NFL record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single season – and he did that despite missing four games due to injury.

While Adams may produce more than any other safety does in the pass rush, Corry doesn’t expect the Seahawks to pay him like he plays a different position. And that’s the most likely dispute for the two sides.

“I don’t think they’re going to do anything to pay him outside of the positional paradigm because the only positions where you get paid outside of a positional paradigm are people who rush the passer on a consistent basis,” Corry said. “That’s where Adams kind of has a case. … He’s going to try to say, ‘I’ve transcended the position. I should be paid like a great defensive player, not (just) a safety.’ That’s a tough argument to make.”

Another thing standing between Adams and a higher figure than what Seattle wants to offer is the contract of teammate Bobby Wagner. He’s currently the Seahawks’ highest-paid defensive player, making $18 million per year. Corry thinks Seattle is reticent to give Adams more money per year than the future Hall of Famer they have at middle linebacker.

“I have a hard time seeing the Seahawks paying (Adams) more than $18 million per year, particularly when the safety market right now is at $15.25 million per year,” Corry said, adding that if Wagner couldn’t break the “positional paradigm” for a contract, “I don’t think they’re going to allow Adams to make that argument successfully.”

There’s one more reason why Adams might be able to twist the Seahawks’ arm, however. They paid a big price last offseason to acquire him in a trade, sending two first-round picks (one in 2021, one in 2022), a 2021 third-round selection and safety Bradley McDougald to the New York Jets for Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick.

“That is where his leverage comes from because you don’t give up multiple picks, including two first-rounders, for a guy (just) to let him walk out the door after being there a year or two,” Corry said.

You can hear the full interview with Corry from Monday’s edition of Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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