Some regular football news broke over the weekend when the New York Jets acquiesced to Jamal Adams' demands and traded him to the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets got a great haul for their best defensive player in the form of two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and steady vet Bradley McDougald. Seattle got a foundational cornerstone for their defense and one of the most versatile players in the league who can come in and make an instant impact for a unit that has fallen off in recent years.
It's a rare occurrence in the NFL, but this transaction felt like a win for both teams immediately. Adams did not want to be on the New York Jets and the Seahawks want to maximize Russell Wilson's prime by surrounding him with elite talent. But if you ask Seattle GM John Schneider's counterparts around the league, the Seahawks got fleeced. Or so reports ESPN's Dianna Russini, appearing on Get Up this morning.
When looking at the deal purely through the lens of positional value, that view has its merits. Adams is one of the best safeties in the league, but safeties simply can't have the same impact that an elite pass rusher or cornerback can. Khalil Mack was traded for two firsts, a third, and a sixth, which is very similar to what Seattle paid for Adams. But nobody will argue that Adams has the same snap-to-snap impact on any one game that Mack does. Adams is great at what he does, but is he worth giving up two chances at first-round talents who would be under team control until halfway through this decade?
Schneider clearly believes so, and looking at the trade in a wider context, Seattle gave up a lot but "fleeced" they were not. Thanks to their poor drafting over the last few years, they don't have any big extensions coming up for anybody crucial on either side of the ball, so they can afford to give Adams the money that caused the initial rift with the Jets. He will also be their best defensive player from the moment he steps foot in Seattle. And he doesn't exactly fit into the framework of what we understand safeties to be in today's NFL. He's not an Earl Thomas-type ballhawk, most comfortable roaming 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. Adams can line up all over the place, whether it's on a tight end in man-to-man, playing the centerfielder role in Cover 3, or blitzing the QB from every which angle. Adams led the Jets in sacks last year-- as a safety. That speaks to how bad his supporting cast was, but there simply are not many players out there who can do that.
Plus, it's rather difficult to argue this early that Seattle was fleeced when we have no idea where their draft picks will fall or what the Jets will do with them. If Adams ends up fighting with Seattle's front office over dollars and cents and takes off after his contract expires in 2021, sure, they got fleeced. If the Jets turn those three draft picks into Pro Bowl-caliber players, then yeah, you could say they got the better end of the deal. But right now, days after the fact, all we know is that Seattle got an All-Pro who will make a substantial difference in their quest for a championship this year and next year at the very least. They had to give up big draft capital to do it, but two (likely late) first-round picks over the next two years would struggle to make the same impact combined as Adams can right now.
Was it a lot to give up for a safety? Absolutely. But the Jets didn't rob anybody blind here. They may very well come out the other side as big winners, but for now, Seattle is just doing what it's done regularly over the last five or so years: spend draft capital to acquire talent in any way it can.