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Seahawks won’t budge on ‘final offer’ to Jamal Adams in contract extension negotiations

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 16, 2021

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams walks off the field during NFL football practice last month in Renton, Washington.  (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams walks off the field during NFL football practice last month in Renton, Washington. (Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta </p><p>and Adam Jude Seattle Times

RENTON – The Seahawks met with representatives for strong safety Jamal Adams during the team’s trip to Vegas to play the Raiders in a preseason game Saturday night.

The message from Seahawks general manager John Schneider was the same as last week. The team has made what it considers its final offer, and it is up to Adams to take it or leave it.

Adams, 25, is under contract for this season at $9.86 million, but has been “holding in,’’ – attending meetings and walk-throughs but not practicing – while seeking a long-term extension.

The Seattle Times first reported last week the Seahawks have made an offer to Adams that would make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history, a four-year deal worth a total of $70 million, an average of $17.5 million. The current highest-paid safety is Justin Simmons of Denver at $15.25 million.

The deal also includes $38 million guaranteed, according to sources. Adams’ side has countered asking for $40 million in guaranteed money, and that remains one of the key sticking points.

One consideration for Seattle is keeping figures below those of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who makes $18 million a year and got $40.25 million guaranteed in a three-year deal he signed in 2019.

Seattle acquired Adams in a trade with the Jets in July 2020, giving up first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 in the process, a price tag that created the expectation the team would do whatever it takes to get him signed to a long-term extension.

But as the Times also reported last week, one reason the Seahawks are holding firm is they know they have the option of using franchise tags on Adams for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

The franchise tag for safeties is projected to be $13.55 million in 2022 and $16.26 million in 2023. That means Seattle can effectively view Adams as under team control for the next three years at roughly $40 million.

Playing under the tag is rare. The Seahawks have not had a player play under a tag since kicker Olindo Mare in 2010. They also used one on Frank Clark in 2018 before trading him.

But the Seahawks would consider it.

Adams, who had 91/2 sacks last season in just 12 games, could challenge his designation as a safety and ask to be considered as a linebacker, which comes with higher tag numbers – $17.87 million in 2022 and $21.44 million in 2023. That challenge would go before an arbitrator.

That could set up a season’s worth of weekly speculation about how Adams is being used, something both sides would undoubtedly like to avoid.

According to Pro Football Focus, of Adams’ 784 defensive snaps in 2020, 94 were on the defensive line, 351 were in the box, 173 were as a slot cornerback, 17 were as a wide corner and 149 were at free safety.

But any move with the franchise tag would come after the 2021 season.

For now, the question is whether Adams and his representatives, Kevin Conner and Robert Brown of Universal Sports, will accept Seattle’s deal, with the Seahawks making it clear they are not budging.

By reporting to training camp, Adams avoided being fined $40,000 a day.

And the Seahawks are banking that Adams will not want to give up any of his $9.86 million salary for this season by holding out – $580,000 per game (though salaries are actually now paid out over 36 weeks).

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll indicated Friday he did not expect that Adams would miss games.

“I’m not even thinking about that at all,’’ he said. “I don’t know. I can’t even imagine that.”

But for now, the stalemate continues.

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