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Acquisition of the year: Jamal Adams, Carlos Dunlap, Brandon Shell, or DJ Reed

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Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Football team on Sunday and clinched a spot in the upcoming playoffs. They play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16, who just lost the New York Jets, a fact we will bring up ceaselessly this week for years to come.

Therefore it’s the perfect time to relieve stress and talk about general manager John Schneider’s three best moves this year.

Acquisitions only. Not draft picks. Since we’re here, let’s try to make it more interesting than just “who’s the best.” If we simply do that it goes:

  • Jamal Adams
  • Carlos Dunlap
  • Brandon Shell
  • D.J. Reed

I asked around a bit in preparation of this one, and this was the strong consensus. None of these guys play the same position so it seems incredibly subjective. However, Adams is in another Pro Bowl. Dunlap will hold some Cincinnati Bengals franchise records for some time. Shell is the immediate starter and second or third best player on the offensive line, while Reed is fighting to keep a starting spot, surprisingly. I think the order is fair.

Consider four categories: talent, cost, need, and future outlook.

The Frontrunner

Jamal Adams.

Best statistic: 9.5 sacks as he improves on his own NFL record for a defensive back.

Cost: the arm, also: the leg.
(Two first round picks and Bradley McDougald).

The Challenger

Carlos Dunlap.

Best statistic: Two game-winning sack in just six games played. Five total for Seattle. Hulk Smash + Superman dive = you get a tweet.

The cost: B.J. Finney and a seventh round pick.

The Dark Horse

DJ Reed.

Best statistic: 1/1/3/6. That’s one INT, one fumble recovered, three passes defended(!) and six total tackles. Also known as his game against the Washington Football team. For having one of the best games a defensive player can have, you also get a tweet.

The cost: An email I assume, plus the $582,000 contract he was on. Reed was signed after the San Francisco stay-at-home-and-watch-the-postseason 49ers waived him because he couldn’t play for a couple of weeks.

The Big Guy

Brandon Shell. Shell deserves to be on this list and is a fierce competitor for the most important add, but is currently not playing (which has only helped his case). His games absent have almost perfectly coincided with Reed’s games played which has no bearing on anything I just wanted to bring it up.

Best statistic: 2.9% pressure allowed rate. His 20 pressures on 693 snaps is actually a blip ahead of the 3.0% pressure allowed rate of Duane Brown, making the two tackles the best pass defenders on the team.

The cost: two years at $9 million, as a free agent signing.

If we’re working off the talent-ladder mentioned above, it pairs with the surprise factor for each player. Adams’ is minimal; Reed’s quite a bit.

For example, we all (who’d heard of teams besides the Seahawks) knew Jamal Adams was crazy good. Our surprise has been perhaps we didn’t know he was this good. At least, up front. Some are still under the impression he wasn’t worth it at all because of his coverage. On the other side, the surprise with Reed went from he’s cool at returning kicks, to that he didn’t blow a game, to that he made some good plays, to “screw Quinton Dunbar and/or Tre Flowers we ride with DJ”.

The need. For this, I’m picturing something like baseball’s Wins Above Replacement, but not PFF’s version because that’s not it.

Jamal Adams: third. The Seahawks had two starting-caliber safeties, though neither is as talented or unique as Adams. They would have had a secondary, but teams would not be forced to game plan they way they currently do.

Carlos Dunlap: first. Every defensive lineman was underperforming so hard that Schneider’s hand was forced if he wanted a serious look at the playoffs. Now that Dunlap is here it’s clear that this line is full of very good second-and-third rushers, and it needed a true number one.

Brandon Shell: second. There was no other right tackle and there remains no other. This one bothers me because I do not believe Russell Wilson needs a right tackle to be as good as Shell, but he sure acts like it sometimes. Shell’s replacement was...fine this past Sunday but Wilson still played like a sack was upon him at random moments.

D.J. Reed: fourth. Seattle has three corners presumed better than Reed, but now two are injured and he’s made us all question. This was not supposed to be a weakness after the Dunbar trade, but here we are singing his praises nonetheless. At the end of the day, play the best guy, and at this point it’s probably Reed.

For a treat, here’s how I ranked all these guys just so I can get dunked on later.


Adams - 1
Dunlap - 2
Shell - 3
Reed - 4


Reed - 1
Shell - 2
Dunlap - 3
Adams - 4


Dunlap - 1
Shell - 2
Adams - 3
Reed - 4

Future Outlook

Here’s the deal. Who knows any this stuff. Every one of these guys will finish this season and should be on the roster next year pending something weird.

Adams - He’s a perennial Pro Bowler on a rookie contract. This year he’s one of the best deals in the NFL. Next year, he’ll be on the fifth-year option - still great. After that, it’s going to be a bit stretching, but I do believe the Seahawks want special defensive players to stay and he very clearly enjoys it here.

Dunlap - The fact that he restructured his contract was awesome for short-term team-friendliness. It allowed him to get here quickly, and makes it far more likely that he’ll stay next season, a near guarantee at this point. However after that, he’ll be 33 and it seems unlikely the team will be offering big money.

Reed - He’s here now, he’s definitely here next year, and at this point the biggest risk would be playing himself out of their price range. Retaining Dunbar or Shaquill Griffin are not guarantees at this point, and Reed may not have enough play time to price himself out of Seattle.

Shell - he’ll be 30 when he’s up for a new contract, and the Seahawks are sort of bad at drafting linemen not named Damien Lewis lately. If he plays like this year and does not miss much more time, they should keep him.

Here’s how those numbers from above came out. Low score is best, since being first out of four is better or something.

Dunlap - 6

Shell - 7

Adams - 8

Reed - 9

So close! Add in whatever likelihood you think the player will continue to contribute in the future, and presto you’ve got John Schneider’s best acquisition of 2020.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Your favorite move?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    DJ Reed
    (236 votes)
  • 57%
    Carlos Dunlap
    (1263 votes)
  • 26%
    Jamal Adams
    (592 votes)
  • 5%
    Brandon Shell
    (124 votes)
2215 votes total Vote Now