The Seattle Seahawks made a massive move last Saturday by trading for New York Jets do-it-all safety Jamal Adams. Seattle gave up veteran safety Bradley McDougald, along with two first-round picks and a 2021 third-rounder in order to land one of the brightest young stars in the game.
We have discussed at length what this deal means for the Seahawks, both in the short-term for the positive impact Adams can make on defense, as well as the long-term of not having a first-round pick until 2023 and how a contract extension affects the team’s salary cap.
What we haven’t done up to this point is get the thoughts of Jets fans and writers about this mega-deal. Over the past few days we not only have reaction from Gang Green Nation’s MacGregor Wells (available in the podcast player above), but GGN managing editor John B took the time to analyze Adams as a player and what he provides to the Seahawks defense.
It’s easy to dismiss the value Adams brings by labeling him as a box safety or say he doesn’t play a premium position. I’d argue both of these miss the mark.
The box safety label simply isn’t accurate. While Adams is a dominant defender when in the box, PFF’s charting showed he played less than half of his snaps there in 2019. According to them. he lined up deep 297 times, in the slot on 131 snaps, as an edge rusher on 96, and even as an outside corner on 34.
And I think safety would be viewed as a premium position if there were more players like Jamal Adams.
Some people have skepticism about whether his production as a pass rusher is sustainable. I get the skepticism. Most pressures on safety blitzes come from the design creating a free runner. Adams is an exception, though. He generates pressures from timing the snap count and studying blocking schemes to know where the breach will be. Running backs also have a really tough time with him on blitz pickups.
Adams isn’t just about sacks, though. As advanced stats show, he’s a shutdown run defender. After struggles as a rookie, he also developed into a high end cover safety.
Jamal Adams does it all— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) January 1, 2020
(ranks among safeties)
- 2.9 YAC/reception (1st)
- 4.5 yds/target (2nd)
- 6.5 sacks (1st)
- 23 pressures (1st)
- missed on just 3% (1/36) of tackle chances (2nd)
- 7 tackles for loss (3rd)
Nothing he can't do
With the way offenses are evolving in the NFL and teams trying to create mismatches with versatile running backs and tight ends, I think a player like Adams is extremely valuable.
He’s definitely a big personality, which made him a bit of a polarizing figure in the Jets’ fanbase. There wasn’t any evidence of Adams creating locker room problems, though. His teammates voted him team MVP the last two seasons and captain this past year.
Do I think the Seahawks overpaid? Yes, I don’t believe any non-quarterback is really worth what they gave up.
Do I think Seahawks fans will care in a few years? It depends on whether Adams maintains his level of play. If he regresses, the trade could live in infamy. But if he maintains his current trajectory, he’s going to end up in a gold jacket in Canton. From what I’ve watched of the Seahawks through the years, I see him as a perfect fit in the Kam Chancellor role in Pete Carroll’s system. This is probably sacrilege to say to Seahawks fans, but Adams might even be better than Chancellor in the Chancellor role.
I put that last sentence in bold just for the shock value of thinking we might have anyone who can potentially be better than Kam Chancellor. On the other hand, if Jamal Adams is indeed better than Kam in his prime, then opposing NFL offenses will be in absolute shambles.
By the way, our own John Fraley also provided a breakdown of what McDougald brings to a Jets defense that quietly finished 9th in DVOA last season, and you can read that (along with reaction from Jets fans) over at GGN.