Despite what the Jets have said publicly, Jamal Adams finally talked his way out of New York on Saturday when he was traded to the Seahawks along with a 2022 fourth-round draft pick. In exchange, the Jets received safety Bradley McDougald, the Seahawk’s first-round picks in both 2021 and 2022, and their third-round pick in 2021. The last straw seems to have been Adams’ recent comments concerning head coach Adam Gase’s leadership: “I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land. 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.” Following the trade, however, Jet’s General Manager Joe Douglas addressed concerns that Adams may have set a dangerous precedent: “For us, I certainly don’t think this is a precedent for a player to shoot his way out of town. I’m not concerned about that precedent.” Douglas later went on to say that the trade was about a value to great to pass up, and not Adam’s public criticisms. Either way, Adams is now a Seahawk, and the Jets got quite a haul in return. Setting aside who won or lost the trade, let’s look at what the Seahawks are actually getting on the field in Jamal Adams.
Who is Jamal Adams?
While Jamal Adams, like many great safeties in this league, may not be a household name like Aron Rodgers or Tom Brady, hardcore fans certainly know the name and hold it in high regard. The 24-year-old former LSU standout was drafted by the Jets sixth overall in 2017 ahead of both Patrick Mahomes (10th) and Deshaun Watson (12th). Adams was named team captain in just his second season. During his three years in New York, he made it to two Pro Bowls and had one first-team All-Pro season. While his tenure with the Jets was unquestionably successful (at least on a personal level), it was also marred by public disputes with management over his desire for a new contract. Now that Adams has been granted a fresh start on what many would consider a team that is ready to contend for a championship this year, what can we hope to see from him this year based on what we have already seen through his first three seasons? His impact in both the run and pass game was immense, although it went further than stats alone.
Immediate impact on the Seahawks
The beginning of the end for the “Legion of Boom” era was essentially inked when Russell Wilson’s rookie contract ended and the Seahawks had to give him a big second deal. A lack of resources, as well as a multitude of injuries, turned what was once a strong defensive unit into a below-average one. Per Football Outsiders, in 2015 the Seahawks ranked first in team defense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). Since then the team has steadily declined each season, landing at 18th in 2019. Adams will have some big shoes to fill with his new team as he follows in the footsteps of “Legion of Boom” safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The latter played the same strong safety position that Adams will occupy as Seattle seemingly goes all in on their shrinking title window for the next few seasons. In 2016, the year before Adams was drafted, the Jets ranked 21st in team defense DVOA, whereas in his final season they found themselves ranked 10th. While I understand that the role one player may have had in such a jump in this statistical category can be debated, the impact Adams had as the undisputed leader of the defense cannot. In 2019, Adams would have been Seattle’s leader in sacks (6.5) as well. While I do think they gave up too much to acquire him, what they got in return is a 24-year-old All-Pro safety who will be the anchor and future of their defense.