BY Art Thiel 06:13PM 07/25/2020

Thiel: Seahawks shock NFL with trade for Adams

First-team All-Pro safety Jamal Adams insulted his way out of the Jets. He was embraced by the Seahawks, who gave up 2 first-round picks and Bradley McDougald.

Jamal Adams has never lacked for confidence. / New York Jets

Two days after Seattle sports went Kraken, it beheld a football Krakatoa.

In giving up well-regarded SS Bradley McDougald and two first-round picks to the New York Jets Saturday, the Seahawks blew up a big chunk of their future for SS Jamal Adams, a truculent first-team All-Pro safety who could be gone in two years.

General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have walked the big-trade tightrope several times. But this one not only has no net, the Earth isn’t there, either. They’ll be lost in space. Jamal has been using a smart bmi scale to track down how much weight he has gained or loss to make sure he keeps fit and healthy.

Then again, given the minimal production the Seahawks typically get from first-round picks, they must think they’re unloading sweaters to surfers. Anything they get back is a steal.

The transaction includes getting the Jets’ fourth-round pick in 2021, but besides McDougald, 29, a three-year starter, the Seahawks gave up a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2021 third-rounder.

That’s Percy-Harvin level capital. Whether Adams (6-1, 213 pounds), seemingly fighting with everyone in Jets management while demanding a trade, is a Harvin-level headache remains to be seen. But Russell Wilson is happy.

The Jets’ best player and the club’s management have been at odds for months over a contract extension — hello, Earl Thomas — the difference being that Adams is 24 seeking his second contract and Thomas was 29 seeking his third when things fell apart.

Things were so haywire with the Jets that Adams, after demanding a trade, told the New York Daily News Friday that Adam Gase was a bad head coach.

“I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land,” Adams said. “As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building.

“At the end of the day, he doesn’t address the team. If there’s a problem in the locker room, he lets another coach address the team. If we’re playing shitty and we’re losing, he doesn’t address the entire team as a group at halftime. He’ll walk out of the locker room and let another coach handle it.”

Earlier in the week, Adams criticized owner Woody Johnson over reported racist remarks.

In a CNN story primarily about Johnson’s role as ambassador to the United Kingdom, in which President Trump asked Johnson to help arrange for the British Open to be played at a Trump course in Scotland, sources said Johnson was said to have wondered why there was a Black History Month, and that Black fathers who didn’t remain with their families was the “real challenge.”

In October, Adams took on general manager Joe Douglas after reports said the Jets were listening to an offer for him from Dallas.

“When my agent called me and told me what was going on, it definitely hurt me,” Adams said during a 14-minute harangue in the Jets locker room. “I hold myself as a high level. The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald the Patriots don’t take calls on om Brady, you know what I mean? That’s where I hold myself in that regard.

“I thought I was that guy for them. I didn’t see them even having talks about it, after I told them I wanted to be here.”

Brashness has always been a part of his game even before he was taken sixth by the Jets in the first round out of LSU in 2017. At the combine, he was asked if he was a top-five pick.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I feel like I’m the best guy in the draft. I definitely feel like I should be the No. 1 pick. So, top five . . . that’s definitely in the range, yes sir.”

He’s backed up the talk.

Pro Football Focus in May ranked Adams the NFL’s No. 5 player under the age of 25. He earned grades of 75.0 or higher as a run defender, tackler, pass-rusher and coverage defender in each of the past two seasons. Last year he had 6.5 sacks, a record for a Jets defensive back and most for a DB in the NFL in 2019. He was the first defensive back to lead the Jets in tackles since 1999.

Adams is under his rookie contract for five years after the Jets exercised an option. He makes $825,000 in 2020 and $9.86 million in 2021. Reports say that Adams and the Seahawks have no agreement to extend his contract yet, and the club famously waits until the final year of a contract before re-negotiating. So the next season will include that drama.

After an off-season of only modest moves, there’s no doubt the Seahawks upgraded their often woeful 2019 defense. Adams will team with Quandre Diggs at safety. If Quinton Dunbar clears his legal troubles with prosecutors in Miami, he likely will start with Shaquill Griffin at the corners, giving the Seahawks the best collection of athletes in the secondary since the Legion of Boom.

Adams comes with a huge long-term price. But for 2020, the Seahawks got better in a big way just before the start of training camp Tuesday. Due to covid-19, no one knows how long camp or any irregular season will last. But if it’s a go, the Seahawks have pushed in a lot of chips to bet on the moment.



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  • Alan Harrison

    Fascinating. The 2 first-round picks will be more valuable to the Jets than to the Hawks. McDougal is a surprise, but he becomes redundant (or a nickel) in a defense with Adams. And the 3rd rounder will change hands several times. In a year in which games may or may not be played (can’t imagine they will, but who am I to say?), I’m assuming the 800K is covered by business interruption insurance (maybe not, with the “acts of God” clause). So the Hawks will have the best S in the league, age 25, in time to negotiate a new deal just as a couple of other deals come off the books. It’s a brilliant move.

    • Bruce McDermott

      At best it is conditionally brilliant. If they can’t re-sign Adams, it becomes something less than brilliant.

      Looking at Adams’s tape, he plays with a lot of fire and instinct. He’s slower than Earl was and doesn’t hit as hard as Kam did. But almost everybody is slower than Earl was and nobody now hits as hard consistently as Kam did. So Adams and Diggs will make a very good safety tandem, for sure. Maybe not LOB level, but very good.

      And by swapping McDougald for Adams, the Hawks gained a couple million in cap room for this year, I believe. Still room to sign an Al Woods type, perhaps…

      • art thiel

        All true. The Seahawks know they will need to make him, presuming he plays as you described, the highest-paid safety ahead of ’21. But that presumes football as we know it will be around in ’21. If that’s true, a long-term extension makes the move very smart.

    • art thiel

      The Jets weren’t going anywhere WITH Adams, but I don’t think anyone saw this deal happening so soon. His remarks Friday about Gase certainly poisoned the NY well, and I think Carroll wanted to bust the move ASAP before anyone topped him, and also help induce Clowney to jump back into town.

      • Chris Alexander

        I too feel that PART of this move was a message to Jadeveon Clowney: It’s time to come back and help the team reach the Super Bowl!

  • jafabian

    Interesting to be sure. I thought the Safety position was sound with Diggs, McDougald and Blair. I think linemen are a bigger need than making a very good position even stronger. Maybe the club knows something we don’t and believes they will have Clowney for the upcoming Quarantine-season. If they do then the defense will be set. The draft picks they gave up aren’t really relied on by the Hawks anyway.

  • Husky73

    Opening sentence…10!

    • art thiel

      Thanks. Glad you noticed.

  • Chris Alexander

    My first reaction was, “We gave up TWO #1s to get Adams?” but then …. I thought about it a bit and realized that although the price SEEMS steep, it’s really pretty favorable to Seattle. Here’s why:

    REASON #1. The “unofficial” NFL Draft Pick Trade Value chart paints this as a win. The #6 pick is worth 1,600 points. Assuming Seattle finishes in the “usual” 25-35 range, the two #1s they gave the Jets are worth ~1,180 to 1,440 points.

    Looking at the rest of the trade, sending a 3rd round pick from Seattle for a 4th round pick from the Jets is basically a push, maybe 20 points of difference based on where the Jets are likely to pick (top 1/3 of the round) compared to the Hawks (bottom 1/3).

    Assuming my math is correct, that means that Bradley McDougald’s “value” calculates out to somewhere in the 140 to 400 points range.

    Per the trade value charts, 400 points nets you a mid-second round pick (~#50 overall) and 140 points nets you a late-3rd round pick (~#90 overall). If you had told ANY Seattle fan before today that Seattle could get a mid-2nd or even a late-3rd round pick for MacDougald, you’d probably have been laughed at … and told to TAKE THE DEAL.

    REASON #2: In a “normal” season, draft picks are a crap shoot – especially in the back third of the round. And the 2021 draft will be ANYTHING but normal. Especially if the NCAA ends up cancelling the 2020 season – which many people think they will (or at least should).

    Odds are that teams will be using 2019 tape to evaluate players they’re considering taking in the 2021 draft. OR …. even worse …. that the NCAA won’t really furnish any players TO BE DRAFTED. Because if there isn’t a college football season then there’s a good chance that the NCAA will give everyone another year of eligibility and a fair number of “student athletes” will decide to stay in school for another year.

    REASON #3: Adams was selected to 2 Pro Bowls in his first 3 seasons. He is ranked in the top 5 in most categories. He was considered the Jets’ BEST player. And most (all?) of his “antics” were (probably) geared very specifically toward the goal of GETTING HIM THE HECK OUT OF DODGE. My gut says he’ll be a model teammate in Seattle and will enjoy playing for a team that competes for titles EVERY season.

    In some ways, I’d still “rather have the draft picks” but …. I think this was a VERY SHREWD MOVE by the Seahawks and I expect that it will pay off HUGE!

    • Bruce McDermott

      Good analysis. Although remember the Hawk’s 4th rounder from the Jets is not only of course lower than the third rounder they gave up, it’s one year later, which makes that value gap greater than just a 3rd to a 4th in the same year…

      • art thiel

        I think Carroll rests easily with that part of the deal. But it points up how hard the Seahawks had to hammer on the door to get the Jets to open.

    • SeattleSince57

      Whoa.. 2021 NFL draft without a 2020 college season..could happen

    • Husky73

      But don’t the Seahawks STILL need a defensive lineman?……or two?

      • art thiel

        Boy, nothing satisfies you. :)

      • Chris Alexander

        Theoretically, the Seahawks freed up ~$8.5M in cap space the last few days and have the potential to free up another $3.4M by releasing Quinton Dunbar. I don’t know that they will (and kind of hope they don’t), but having $12M more than they had a few days ago COULD open the door to them resigning Clowney and/or signing Everson Griffen.

        Just sayin’.

    • art thiel

      Good stuff, Chris. The trade-value chart is always a good baseline from which to make some empirical judgments.

      Your point about the college-season chaos is important too. Nothing is certain in pro and college in ’21. Related, the incoming freshman class may be damaged if the ’20 season doesn’t work and the seniors are invited back, which denies PT to underclassmen.

  • DonMac

    Granted the Seahawks are paying a steep price in draft capital through the acquisition of Jamal Adams, but Adams is a special player who is already on the cusp of being one of the best defensive players in the NFL. When you look at the Seahawks wretched draft history in recent years (Malik McDowell, Rashaad Penny, L.J. Collier, Ethan Pocic, etc.) then two first round picks for a talent like Adams is worth the price.

    • 1coolguy

      You forgot we also included a STARTER and a Third round pick. SO we in effect gave up FOUR starters for 1-1/2 starters. Bad math by the Hawks.
      AND, what id this ONE guy gets injured? SS is an injury prone position, when the player like Adams hits the way he does.

      • art thiel

        Do you think the Seahawks will get starters with their first-rounders? Ha.

        • 1coolguy

          Good point Art – Their 1st round failures are legion, BUT they could be used for future trades. I can see giving up 1 first rounder, 1 third and McDougald, but TWO first rounders? Again, this is starting QB trade stuff.
          At this point, JS had better hope Adams never misses a game, and if he does get injured, given his hard hitting ways, this will become “Harvin II”

      • Chris Alexander

        To be more accurate, Seattle gave up a “serviceable” starter (McDougald) and 2 potential starters of unknown quality and MAYBE a 3rd starter of even less likely quality (i.e. the 3rd round pick) for a 2-time All-Pro player who was considered the best player on his old team and arguably the 3rd or 4th best player on his new team.

        I get that you – and many others – think the price was steep. ESPECIALLY FOR A SAFETY. But ….

        Let’s look at this as if Seattle had made the trade after the 2017 season and gave up a #1 and a #3 in 2018 and a #1 in 2019. Are you saying that you wouldn’t trade Rashaad Penny (#1 in 2018), Rasheem Green (#3 in 2018), and L.J. Collier (#1 in 2019), plus Bradley McDougald for All-Pro Jamal Adams?

    • art thiel

      Take the known over the unknown.

  • 1coolguy

    I agree Art – The first I heard of this I thought “Oh crap, Percy Harvin redoux”.
    I don’t care who you are, other than a stud QB a la RW, you don’t give up a STARTER, 2 FIRST ROUND CHOICES, AND a THIRD rounder. They get a player that has been described more of a Kam Chancellor, close to the line type safety, rather than an Earl Thomas type.
    And as a very physical player, what if he blows out a shoulder, knee, or, as ET, breaks a leg???
    It seems he also has a mouth, so did we just pick up another ET or Sherman, who has to be managed with the press also? As much as we all loved ET and Sherm, they became a challenge for management.
    They just put a jumbo mortgage on the teams future, and as a Hawks fan, I really hope it works. I don’t like the math: 1 present starter, and THREE (3) future starters, for 1 starter and 1 fourth round maybe.
    My math says Jets 4, Hawks 1-1/2. EEEK!

    • Husky73

      Darelle Revis redux.

    • art thiel

      There’s a lot of pros and cons, but the wild card in this is the pandemic. If the NFL pulls off most of a season including an SB, the Seahawks chances improved their chances. The future? The first-round picks are less valued by the Seahawks than any other team.

      • Chris Alexander

        I read recently that the “math” for first round picks is that future picks are equal to -1 round each year that they’re pushed out. So, assuming that Seattle would be picking in the 25-32 range the next 2 years, the 2021 pick is more like the 25th pick in the 2nd round and the 2022 pick is more like the 25th pick in the 3rd round and the 3rd round pick in 2021 would be more like a 4th rounder. Not sure I agree with that math but it does sort of play into the way that the Seahawks seem to “value” their picks.

  • 1coolguy

    ““I love you guys already @Seahawks but damn y’all didn’t have to put the kid on a 7am flight… Damn lol,” Adams tweeted Sunday night, before quickly deleting the social media post.”
    It has ALREADY started – this says it all – Good luck Pete!

    • art thiel

      Good sleuthing. Wilson will advise Adams there’s no time to sleep. Especially with no AC.

    • Chris Alexander

      Hahaha …. I actually find that tweet amusing. And it’s funny that he deleted it. Honestly, the 7am flight just goes to show how EAGER Seattle is to get him into town. Go Hawks!

  • woofer

    They are only doing this to keep the desperate fan base engaged and moderately sane during a period when NOTHING is happening. It will generate about 500 learned analytical articles plus maybe 20,000 blog comments. A few thousand Twelves will temporarily kick anti-depressants.

    More critically, terminal coronavirus patients on respirators at Harborview will be suddenly brought back to life when a nurse softly whispers in their ears, “Hawks got Jamal Adams for two first round picks…” “Wh-wh-whaaAAAT?”

    Donald Trump will tout the amazing recoveries as the miracle cure we have all been waiting for. He will tell us he saw this coming all along. History will fondly remember the 500 articles plus 20,000 comments as the jolt that finally turned around the faltering economy and rocketed the Dow past the 40,000 mark. Protesters will lie down peacefully with camouflaged federal agents like lambs with lions.

    If science could only come up with a cure for the Mariners, now that would really be something.

    • art thiel

      Seems you’re already in the medicine cabinet finding the stimulants. Can’t wait until you write after the heat fever of 95 degrees in Seattle Monday.

    • Husky73

      Woofer, it’s all about Jose Marmolejos.

  • DB

    The biggest weakness of the Seahawks defense has been defending the underneath pass routes. Hopefully, this fixes that.

  • coug73

    Wow, the Hawks are all in for football this coming season of C-19. Attempting to build a juggernaut in the face of a pandemic is supremely optimistic. We Hawk fans will watch and wait.

  • Husky73

    The conventional wisdom in the NFL is the team that consistently drafts well then consistently wins. …..except for the Seahawks.

    • Chris Alexander

      I read an article recently that laid out a pretty solid case for the Seahawks being the BEST drafters over the last 10 years. The article used Approximate Value (AV) to provide a total value for all of a team’s picks over the last 10 drafts and Seattle was #1 overall with something like an AV of 1,450. New England was second, some 200 points back. The article pointed out that Seattle’s penchant for trading back gave them more picks over the last 10 years but also noted that they BARELY ended up on top – they had 97 picks over the 10 years, but there were 4 or 5 teams in the 90s and the #2 team was at 95 of 96. They also did some “advanced math” to determine the “efficiency” of the picks (basically dividing the total AV by the # of picks) and found that Seattle’s efficiency was #2, behind only New Orleans. (Fun note: San Francisco had the WORST draft efficiency over the last 10 years.)

      I’ll see if I can find a link to the article and will post it if I do – assuming that’s alright with Mr. Thiel, of course.

      • Chris Alexander

        Found the article (but holding off on the link for now).

        Total AV of draft picks the last 10 years:
        Seattle: 1453
        New England: 1200
        League Average: 991

        For context, the Washington football club at 989 was basically the league-average drafters.

        Number of draft picks the last 10 years:
        Seattle: 97
        Minnesota and San Francisco: 96
        Cincinnati: 93
        Cleveland: 90
        Green Bay, Baltimore, and the L.A. Rams: 89
        League Average: 79.5

        For context, Houston and Denver each had 79 picks the last 10 years while Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Dallas each had 80.

        Efficiency of Picks – aka Average AV per Pick:
        New Orleans: 15.52
        Seattle: 14.98
        Carolina: 14.49
        Kansas City: 14.18
        League Average: 12.49 (the exact score of the L.A. Chargers)
        San Francisco: 10.06 (dead last)

        Side note: The Jets were next to last at 10.31.

        • tor5

          I’m not sure what it all means, but I’m enjoying your nerdy statistical posts. They’re durned interestin’.

      • art thiel

        I’d like to read it. Please share.

  • tor5

    Getting a proven, young all-pro for the crap shoot of draft picks makes sense to me, but I’ll sure miss McDougald. In interviews, he was as solid a teammate as you could hope for. Always grateful, positive, and confident in the team and coaches, even after some bleak losses. Adams may have some things to learn in that regard, but maybe Carroll, Wilson and others can work their magic on his mindset. I think the locker-room buy-in is especially key to Carroll’s whole approach, and the fast-approaching contract year for Adams is a concern. All that said, kudos for a big, ballsy move.

  • Chris Alexander

    Although some (most?) are skeptical of Pro Football Focus’s metrics and ratings, it’s worth noting that they ranked the Jets’ combo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye as the 4th best safety tandem heading into the 2020 season. And that was almost ENTIRELY because of Adams. Their write up said this:

    “It doesn’t matter whether you measure it by PFF grade or PFF WAR, Jamal Adams is arguably the game’s ultimate weapon from the safety position — he is a do-it-all safety who routinely produces plays behind the line of scrimmage. Adams is the only safety in the NFL who played at least 200 snaps yet earned top-10 PFF grades in coverage, as a tackler, in the pass rush and overall.”

    They went on to point out that: “Adams has even garnered the ninth-best man-coverage grade (81.9) over the last two seasons, and he has often overshadowed the stellar play of his fellow safety, Marcus Maye.”

    Grading wise, PFF gave him an overall grade of 87.9 (4th in the league), a coverage grade of 87.3 (7th), a run-defense grade of 78.3 (12th), a tackling grade of 90.0 (2nd), and a pass-rush grade of 89.9 (2nd).


    To be fair, PFF ranked the combo of McDougald and Diggs #9 heading into the season and had pretty good things to say about both of them. They pointed out that Diggs was only targeted 8 times in primary coverage since joining the Seahawks yet came away with 3 interceptions and ended the season with a 32.3 passer rating allowed. About McDougald, they wrote that he “has sneakily been one of the best man-coverage safeties in the entire league over the last two seasons.

  • Archangelo Spumoni

    Mr. Chris Alexander
    Please keep up the fine work–posting the draft value and heat maps.
    You, sir, are a steely-eyed missile man.

    Keep ’em coming, pls.

  • Kirkland

    A playmaker who says what he thinks. In other words, a perfect Seahawks defensive back.