Why Jamal Adams’ future will be a conversation for Seahawks

Jan 18, 2023, 1:54 PM

Seahawks Jamal Adams...

Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is carted off the field at Lumen Field on Sept. 12, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There are a number of big storylines to follow with the Seahawks this offseason.

What will they do with quarterback Geno Smith?

Which positions will they target with their high-end draft picks?

Can they fix a defense that was among the league’s worst once again?

And then there’s Jamal Adams.

A three-time All-Pro safety who just finished his third season with the Seahawks, the 27-year-old Adams only appeared in one game in 2022 due to a torn quad muscle he suffered in Week 1.

Adams came to the Seahawks ahead of the 2020 season in a blockbuster trade with the New York Jets that cost the Seahawks two first-round picks and a third-rounder. Adams was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 when he recorded 9.5 sacks, an NFL record for a defensive back, but he missed four games that year, five in 2021 and 16 in 2022. He’s also the Seahawks’ highest-paid player after signing a four-year deal ahead of the 2021 season worth up to $72 million with $38 million guaranteed.

Adams still has three years left on his contract and has been a difference maker at times when on the field. But could the Seahawks consider parting ways with their big investment?

“Well, can they afford to let him go is an equally bigger question,” former NFL quarterback Brock Huard said Wednesday morning on Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Brock and Salk.

Cutting Adams right away would cost the Seahawks a pretty penny – over $21 million in dead salary cap space. But if he’s cut with a post-June 1 designation, that money can be spread out over the next few seasons. (A full breakdown of Adams’ contract can be found here from Sportac.)

“So this whole June 1 designation, just digging into it a little bit because it’s confusing, basically is just an accounting play that allows you to, after June 1, split the amount of hit that you want to take. Like, how much debt do you want to take on your books?” Huard said. “Do you want to just take it all this year? … Not going to happen, makes no sense, can’t do it, can’t afford it.

“After a June 1 designation, you can basically split that up into two and make it a little bit more of a palatable play if you just say, ‘You know what? This just didn’t work. It just didn’t work. And he’s old and he’s beat up and there’s all these guarantees and unfortunately, this was a miss.’ … It’s been a miss, a big miss.'”

Would Huard cut Adams with a June 1 designation?

“I’d think seriously about it,” he said. ” … You don’t know what you’re gonna get (from Adams next season). You don’t know. I mean, it was a significant, significant injury to repair a torn quad muscle, to staple that thing back on and bring it all the way back, and that body that has been unfortunately like Kam Chancellor.”

Chancellor, another hard-hitting strong safety, was the heart and soul of the Seahawks’ best defenses in the 2010s, but towards the end of his career he missed a lot of games due to injury. A serious neck injury ended Chancellor’s career after eight seasons, and he played his final game before his 30th birthday.

“These safeties that hit like he does and play around the line of scrimmage, you have to look at their life expectancy like a running back,” Huard said. “Those are the most massive collisions on the field – safeties and running backs, especially guys who play the game the way Kam and Jamal did.”

There are other factors at play besides injuries that could cause the Seahawks to part ways with Adams this offseason, Huard said.

“Depending on what you pay Geno, depending on how much you want to pay (for a notable free-agent defensive lineman like) Daron Payne or Fletcher Cox or go down that road as you start divvying up dollars,” he said. “You think it’s fascinating with just the QB? Holy smokes, extend it beyond everything else with these other moves … you’re going to make. He will be a conversation this offseason.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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