Evaluating what a Jamal Adams extension could look like

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 17: Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets looks on prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 17, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 17: Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets looks on prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 17, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

How much is Seahawks safety Jamal Adams looking for in an extension?

As many players do, he wants to reset the market. I can’t say I blame him. I can say with a solid level of confidence that Adams is amongst the best strong safeties in the NFL between current ability and upside. So we ask, what kind of money are we talking about here?

Well, with the Jets he was reportedly seeking $20 million per year. This is partially due to his unhappiness in the organization. It was pretty much a move saying ‘pay me enough so that I won’t care where I play or send me somewhere else I actually want to be’, kind of situation.

From that same report, he said he would consider a lower salary from one of his preferred destinations. Seattle was one of those teams. So, let’s see where the rest of the safety market stands at the moment:

Top 5 contracts amongst safeties:

Players                       Avg Salary                 Age Signed

Eddie Jackson           $14.6 Million            26

Kevin Byard               $14.1 million            25

Landon Collins          $14 million               24

Tyrann Mathieu        $14 million               27

Earl Thomas              $13.75 million         30

It’s quite clear that the current safety market stands at around $14-$15 million per year. All the players above are truly elite and have been for some time. However, none of the players in quite the same boat as Adams. To be quite honest, it’s not fair to lump Adams in with the safeties, he is more of an athlete who can play safety.

Thus far in his career, he has played all over the field. He has played 318 snaps at the edge, 1,099 snaps at linebacker and 1,196 snaps at safety. He can do it all, and do it all well. However, his bread and butter is rushing the passer.

Here is a fun stat PFF published a few days ago:

"“Jamal Adams has the most sacks (11), hits (11), hurries (27) and total pressure (49) among all NFL defensive backs since joining the league in 2017.”"

It is for this reason that some believe he wants to not only be the highest-paid safety, but the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL. This means he wants cornerback money. This would likely put his negotiation floor at about $17 million, as it is currently.

Top 3 contracts amongst cornerbacks:

Players                       Avg Salary                 Age Signed

Darius Slay                 $16.7 Million               28

Bryon Jones                $16.5 million              26

Xavien Howard          $15.1 million              25

Over the past 3 years, Adams has a coverage grade of 91.6 against tight ends. This will be huge with the abundance of quality of tight ends in the NFC West. It makes sense why the Seahawks felt he was a ‘can’t miss player.’ He has the athleticism to rush the passer and the soft skills to dominate in coverage.

Where does this leave Jamal Adams’s negotiations with the Seahawks?

Given the volume of draft capital that was shipped away, Adams holds all the leverage. It is similar to the Laremy Tunsil, Dolphins-Texans trade last year. The team sent so much to simply acquire the player (without extending), they have to do whatever it takes to keep him around long-term. Adams knows this. Tunsil ended up breaking the left tackle market open by a margin of nearly $6 million.

Where I get nervous, every defensive player that signs a new big contract is likely bumping up Adams asking price for next year. Myles Garrett signed a monster $25 million per year deal a couple of weeks ago. This made him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

He didn’t hold that title long, Joey Bosa just surpassed him with a $27 million per year contract from the Chargers. You can definitely argue that both of these players play a premium position, where Adams does not. By all accounts, you would be correct.

However, given Seattle’s lack of leverage and that Adams is one of the most gifted pass-rushing defensive backs in the NFL, he can use this in negotiations. Each monster contract signed will likely bump up his asking price. So the next question would be, what could a long term contract actually look like?