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ESPN names Jamal Adams among those ‘under most pressure’ in 2023 NFL season

It’s been a frustratingly injury-riddled career for Adams since becoming a Seahawk.

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It’s safe to say that the Seattle Seahawks’ big trade for Jamal Adams hasn’t gone according to plan. The former New York Jets safety came over to Seattle in the 2020 offseason, costing the Seahawks a pair of first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Bradley McDougald.

There was great hope that Adams would be the do-it-all safety who could help against the run, be sterling in pass coverage, and get after the quarterback on blitzes at a time when Seattle’s pass rush needed literally anyone to generate pressure. The good news is Adams got 9.5 sacks in his first year in Seattle. The bad news is pretty much everything else, primarily injuries.

Adams enters 2023 on the PUP list after tearing his quad in 2022, and obviously he’s one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL. This is why ESPN’s Bill Barnwell named him in the list of 20 players, executives, and coaches who are “most under pressure” for this upcoming season.

Douglas got into position to acquire Zach Wilson a year ago as a product of the Adams trade, with the Seahawks sending two first-round picks as the focal point of a package to acquire the star safety from New York. The move looked promising after Year 1, when Adams racked up 9.5 sacks in 12 games and was a second-team All-Pro in 2020.

He has played just 13 games over the ensuing two seasons while battling a torn labrum in 2021 and a quadriceps tear in 2022. He hasn’t recorded a sack over that stretch, and Pro Football Reference’s metrics have pegged him as a liability in coverage. I’m not sure the move to acquire Adams in the first place looks great with any benefit of hindsight, and it would be even worse if the Adams who shows up in 2023 isn’t as explosive as the player the Seahawks acquired three years ago.

Adams’ $18.1 million cap hit is the largest for any safety in the league and of any player on the Seahawks’ roster. That figure goes up to $23.6 million in 2024, when Seattle could create as much as $16.5 million in space by designating him as a post-June 1 release. This is the same organization that once sent a first-round pick to the Vikings for Percy Harvin, gave him a new contract and then traded him away the following year for peanuts. If Adams can’t make it back to be a regular contributor this season, the Seahawks will have a tough decision to make next spring.

It’s not like Adams is out there getting hurt on purpose, but at 27 years old and coming off three consecutive serious injuries, it may be very hard for him to return to his All-Pro form. Meanwhile, the Jets landed the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Garrett Wilson with one of Seattle’s first-rounders.

There’s also a bit of a side story here with Adams’ quad injury; you may recall he suffered it while unsuccessfully trying to sack Russell Wilson, whom the Seahawks traded to the Denver Broncos to essentially get a first-round pick back that they had otherwise lost in the Adams trade.

I just want Adams on the field and performing to the best of his abilities, but I’m also well aware that it’s going to be exceptionally difficult for this trade to go down as anything other than a disaster.