The Seattle Seahawks had three best-at-position players hold “in” this preseason, the only such team in that scenario. At times, the situation felt fine, mostly irritating. At others, handwringing was in effect.
Sure, it was a more dramatic summer than what the front office might have hoped. But what if the way that Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs and Duane Brown ended their holdouts signifies an extreme positive within the organization?
Theory: the conclusion of the Adams / Brown / Diggs holdouts was about as good as it could have gone for the Seahawks. All three wrapped up with relatively no drama in today’s NFL, and speak positively about the collective attitude this season.
Part 1: Jamal Adams
In the days following his contract extension, Jamal Adams said his mom used his “full name, and when my mother says my full name I think I need to pay attention.” This is cute, admirable, probably honest, and one should always listen to one’s mother when the full name is invoked.
However, this is a grown multi-millionaire talking here, who grew infamously at odds with his previous franchise. In the past he talked significantly about being paid like a linebacker or of blowing the roof of the safety market.
The day after the now-famous maternal encouragement, Adams signed the deal in front of him. No more negotiation, no last-minute alterations. He ended without drama, drew attention away from the process and went back to work.
Part 2: Quandre Diggs
Quandre Diggs is a bit more confusing because of his own admissions. Diggs began his absence after the Jamal Adams deal, making it seem like he’d waited his turn to amplify negotiations. It would have made sense; and he’s the only one of this roster who’s got similar long-term leverage. However, Diggs himself indicated it was more of a private business venture, and that he had something outside of camp to take care of first.
FS Quandre Diggs on his plan going forward with #Seahawks: "As soon as the business, the little business thing that I gotta do, as soon as it's you know, done, signed, sealed, delivered, you know I'll be back at practice." (1)— Matty F. Brown (@mattyfbrown) September 1, 2021
Regardless it was a relatively short absence, and Diggs has been present, active, and fast throughout the rest of camp. He tweeted his appreciation to be playing a seventh season and returned to practice on Monday alongside Duane Brown.
Part 3: Duane Brown
Duane Brown’s situation was the most odd, yet most telling. Brown’s hold-in came seemingly out of nowhere, in this final year of a generous three-year contract he signed with Seattle after arriving. It’s unusual because he doesn’t really have the youth leverage needed to negotiate long deals. It’s also not like anyone expected Brown to play a solitary preseason snap anyway, or ever really practice much. Dude could have showed up and played pattycake with the rookies and we would have been aglow with pride in our favorite offensive lineman.
Why sit out? Obviously for more financial security if possible.
However, why come back now? On Monday, in time to appropriately practice in time to start Week 1 of this season? The team did convert some money into guarantees, but no new deal was reached and Brown has no assurance he’ll be a Seahawk next year.
What’s it mean?
For all three, the cynic says players try what they’re going to try, get what they can get, and bite the bullet where they can’t.
But I look at timing, past history, and the ease with which they came back, and I see three of the most important players on this team signaling that they believe in this team this season.
After all, Duane Brown has actually held out before. He’s missed games and knows what it’s like, and he’s also been paid enough to do it again if really needed. Similarly, Adams became so disenchanted with the New York Jets organization that some thought he was a troublemaker. Turns out the Jets simply do that to people.
Instead of mayhem, all three of them are back and potentially left money on the table. Adams the least; Diggs the most - especially if he regresses at all. Brown is now going to play with no future locked in.
This is an extremely positive outcome for the Seahawks. Brown not playing in particular would have been the most devastating. If you watched five minutes of preseason offensive tackles you know why. But I think all these guys have faith in this roster, and in the high ceiling of this team. One could chalk the whole thing up as Pete Carroll continuing to walk on thin ice with too much leniency towards too many big personalities. I think that’s shallow and inaccurate. These are three formidable personalities to be sure, but they all pivoted back to “team” mentality, each in their own way within their respective situations, that can only speak encouragement to the rest of the club.
It’s subtle, but it’s a small peek behind the doors that this team has faith in themselves this year. There’s been a quiet, get-to-business attitude from the veterans this summer. I think this team is as just as disappointed in the playoff results as the fans, and simultaneously has the sense that they’re on the verge of a special season.