In the NFL, fans love watching the offensive players dominate and they love getting points for their fantasy teams. But the real fans love knowing that their defense is just as good and can shut down an offense. While Super Bowl 48 was not really an exciting game, it is one of the most memorable games in recent years. Fans remember how the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom shut down a historically great Denver Broncos offense led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. While fans tend to love offense, a good defense is key for the success of an NFL team.
On July 25, the Seattle Seahawks made a big trade to get standout safety Jamal Adams from the New York Jets. Seattle gave up a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2021 third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald. In return, they received Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick.
The move makes Seattle a favorite to win the NFC and signals an attempt to rebuild their previous "LOB’"defense. But the question is, will the trade be worth it?
Adams makes the Seahawks better, but how much better does this trade make the Seahawks?
The Seahawks gave up 6,106 total yards last season and the 4,223 yards given up in the air ranked them 27th in passing defense. With the Jets only giving up 3,779 yards last season, Adams will certainly help make the passing defense better. The Seahawks were tied for fifth in the league with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with 16 interceptions – 10 of those were attributed to the secondary. With opposing teams attempting more difficult passes due to Adams’ presence, the Seahawks will likely get more interceptions and allow lower passing yardage.
Adams led all safeties with 6.5 sacks in 2019, but most likely he won’t be tasked with rushing the quarterback too much with Seattle. The Seahawks could probably use him to rush the passer a bit more as they had 28 sacks as a team last year, which was tied for third-worst in the league. Despite star defensive player Jadeveon Clowney still being unsigned to a contract, the team is still focused on the pass rush as Benson Mayowa was brought on in the offseason. Without the ability to pressure the quarterback up front, the secondary will always be at risk for quarterbacks within the division – Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff and Kyler Murray – to find the holes.
Adams has two more years on his rookie deal, but eventually, the Seahawks will have to pay up. The highest-paid safety in NFL history is Chicago Bears’ Eddie Jackson, with $58 million overall and $22 million guaranteed for a four-year contract. Adams could break that record when he is due for a contract extension. The NFL is a hard cap league, meaning teams cannot pay more than a set amount to sign players. With Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner accounting for over $57 million in salary and other players eligible for extensions (D.K. Metcalf), signing Adams to a max deal will force the Seahawks to make some tough decisions when it comes to the remaining cap space.
The Seahawks have taken just two Pro Bowlers in the top 15 picks of the NFL Draft since 2010. While first-round picks have a great value on the field, they’re also effective bargaining tools. By trading a first-round pick and getting future picks in later rounds, it allows teams to take risks without spending too much money on those players. While the Seahawks haven’t been able to draft as well in the first round, they have drafted extremely well in Days 2 and 3. The Seahawks have drafted 10 Pro Bowlers in the second through seventh rounds, which they would not have been able to do without initially trading first-round picks.
Jamal Adams makes the Seahawks better, and it would be hard to argue otherwise. But, it is important to analyze if this risk was worth it. If the Seahawks can manage to win a Super Bowl in the next two years, then Seattle was right in rolling the dice to trade for the All-Pro safety. But with the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers looking to get back to the Super Bowl and the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Buccaneers pegged as conference contenders, the Seahawks face an uphill battle in what could shape up to be an exciting season.