Before the 2020 season began, the Seattle Seahawks took a huge swing and traded two first-round picks for All-Pro Jamal Adams, prying the unhappy safety away from the New York Jets. While the price even back then seemed too steep, it looked like a smart move.
Pete Carroll's defense had been suffering without a dominant presence in the secondary after the demise of the Legion of Boom. Adams didn't have a great reputation in coverage but possessed a unique skillset as a safety, one that somebody like Carroll should have been easily able to take advantage.
A year and a half later, that didn't turn out to be true at all. Adams has been average at best in Seattle and absolutely awful at worst. Carroll somehow hasn't figured out how to use his talents in the same way Gregg Williams did. The Seahawks, amidst a lost season, have to give their first-round pick to New York as part of the trade. That pick is currently projected to be in the Top-5, and now Adams is out for the year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Things are bad.
Adams' first year in Seattle was actually pretty good. In 12 games, he recorded 9.5 sacks, a crazy number for a safety, and one forced fumble in 12 games. But he fell off a cliff this year. He had no sacks and no forced fumbles in the first 12 weeks of the season. Adams did record two interceptions, a career-high, but wasn't the game-wrecking force he was billed to be.
Those numbers don't matter when the defense as a whole is performing poorly, and they very much have in the two years Adams has been part of the unit. Carroll's vaunted unit ranked 30th in the entire NFL in passing yards allowed in 2020, gifting opposing offenses an average of 278 yards in the air per contest. There was little improvement in 2021; Seattle currently ranks dead last in the league at 275 passing yards allowed per game.
But that's not where Adams shines. What about the Seahawks' run defense? That's really his billing. In 2020, he lived up to it. Seattle ranked fifth in the league in rushing defense, giving up only an average of 99 yards per contest. They regressed hard in 2021, though, and rank 24th at 120 yards allowed each week.
Adams, of course, cannot and should not hold the sole blame for the team's defensive woes. There are 10 other guys on that defense and it's on Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to get everybody producing at a high level. But when a team trades two first-round picks for any defender, that defender should change the complexion of the entire unit. Adams clearly has not, and at times even exacerbates the worst of Seattle's struggles.
Adams is a fine player and having a safety with his particular skillset is useful in some areas. But each day, the trade looks worse. Right now, the Seahawks have Adams, but he's out for the year and their defense is still bad. Their pick, which could end up in the top-10, won't be theirs to use because they wanted Adams so badly. The alternative would be... not having Adams, still having a bad defense, but having their own top pick to play with this offseason. He can't even help them recover from that this year because he got hurt.
Safe to say Adams wasn't worth the price, a realization becoming all the more clear as the year goes on.