Rost: Bigger hasn’t always been better when it comes to Seahawks trades
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to trades in the NFL, and that also rings true for the Seattle Seahawks.
The rest of the league (and Seahawks fans) are eagerly watching to see whether Seattle and Adams reach an agreement on an extension that’s sure to reset the safety market. Not having reached one yet doesn’t mean the trade is a failure – just as reaching one doesn’t guarantee Adams will be the best trade of general manager John Schneider’s career.
Adams’ ultimate impact won’t be determined before the start of the season, but we can look back at some of Seattle’s biggest (and best) trades over the last decade to see how this one stacks up so far.
SS Jamal Adams
Who else? Adams isn’t the only player for whom the Seahawks have given up a first-round pick, but he’s the only player to cost Seattle two of them. On the one hand, Seattle never would’ve had a shot at drafting a player like Adams (who went sixth overall to the Jets in 2017) and getting him at just 25 years old was another perk for a veteran-heavy team who needed a spark on defense. It was also a better situation for Adams, who was on a struggling team in New York and unhappy with the lack of movement on a contract extension.
But Adams is still waiting a new deal one year later here in Seattle. The Seahawks have found themselves in the unenviable position of having a player with a lot of leverage who, seemingly, isn’t afraid to ask for what he believes he’s worth. And Adams can point to last year’s team-high 9.5 sacks as a driving force for that demand.
Right now, negotiations are at a standstill. According to The Seattle Times, the Seahawks have made a final offer to Adams: a four-year deal worth $70 million, with an average of $17.5 million per year. The deal would make Adams the league’s highest-paid safety and leave him just half a million shy of linebacker Bobby Wagner’s $18 million average per year. The Times also reported the Seahawks would be comfortable using the franchise tag next offseason (though don’t be surprised if a grievance is filed on Adams’ behalf to franchise tag him as a linebacker rather than a safety, a difference of about $4 million).
A healthy portion of Seahawks fans might ultimately not care about the lack of a long-term deal if Adams ends up being a driving force behind a return to the Super Bowl. What fan wouldn’t trade two first-round picks to get back to the NFL’s biggest stage, even if it means just a couple years from that player?
But with no trip guaranteed, and with Adams holding out of camp, the critiques are mounting.
WR Percy Harvin
For a team headed up by a defensive-minded head coach, it’s surprising that two of Seattle’s biggest moves have been to acquire skill players on offense.
The first came in 2013 when the Hawks sent a first-round pick to the Vikings for wide receiver Percy Harvin. Seattle signed Harvin to a six-year, $67 million extension. Harvin had just 17 yards during the 2013 regular season, but a trip to the Super Bowl (and eventual win) was a salve for most of that bite.
TE Jimmy Graham
A moment of honesty: Considering how much more production Seattle got from Graham, I’m always a bit surprised to see him considered a drastically worse trade than Harvin.
This is another trade that cost a first-rounder and didn’t work out long term for Schneider and the Seahawks, but postseason context (and struggles in other position groups) were heavy factors.
Seattle acquired a pass-catching tight end that didn’t fit their scheme, and surrendered a great offensive lineman in center Max Unger just ahead of years-long struggles up front.
Graham had 605 yards in his first season before suffering a torn patellar tendon. But he didn’t miss a game in the two years after that, racking up 923 yards in 2016 and a team-high 10 touchdowns in 2017. However, Seattle originally acquired Graham just months after a heartbreaking Super Bowl loss, and a Saints star who was supposed to be part of the answer never ended up finding the same rapport and effectiveness with Seattle.
Turns out Seattle’s best trades have all been in October.
DE Carlos Dunlap
One of Schneider’s best trades was also one of his most recent.
The Seahawks had just nine sacks heading into their Week 6 bye in 2020 and couldn’t afford to repeat their lackluster 2019 pass rush. At a time when the team desperately needed help on the D-line, Schneider sent backup center B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick to Cincinnati for veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
The 31-year-old Dunlap was one of the most productive pass rusher in Bengals franchise history, but was struggling to find a regular role with the 2020 iteration of the team. He had just one sack and four quarterback hits in seven games with Cincy. Once he was traded to Seattle (and asked to focus solely on a LEO role) Dunlap’s production soared. He finished with five sacks and 14 quarterback hits for the Seahawks and was a catalyst for a second-half turnaround.
Schneider wasn’t done making this trade pay off, either. The Seahawks eased Dunlap’s $14 million cap hit in 2021 by releasing him and re-signing him to a two-year, $13.6 million deal with a considerably smaller $2.9 million 2021 hit.
FS Quandre Diggs
The Seahawks acquired safety Quandre Diggs from the Lions in another midseason trade for a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 seventh-round pick during the 2019 season.
Diggs had three picks and a solid debut for Seattle in 2019, but he took another step forward in 2020 with a team-high five interceptions and his first Pro Bowl nod.
Diggs’ five picks and 10 passes defended last year are also career highs.
LT Duane Brown
Even with his current contract issue, Brown remains one of Schneider’s best trade acquisitions.
Brown was another midseason pickup, but Seattle gave up comparatively more for this move: 2018 third- and fifth-round picks, and a 2019 second-round pick.
Brown is one of just two Seahawks on this list to have signed an extension, and it was worth it. He’s been the best and most consistent lineman on this roster since arriving in 2017.
RB Marshawn Lynch
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s another midseason trade – and this one might be among the best ever by Schneider.
The Seahawks acquired running back Marshawn Lynch from the Bills in 2019 for a fifth-round pick in 2011 and a 2012 conditional pick. The rest is history.
Lynch was an integral part of Seattle’s trips to two Super Bowls and ranks fourth in franchise history in career rushing yards behind Shaun Alexander, Chris Warren, and Curt Warner.