RENTON, Wash. – If there was a stink bomb thrown into the parade that was the Seahawks’ win Monday night – if there was a bummer offsetting a morsel of the bedlam, it came in the form of Jamal Adams’ quadriceps tendon injury.
Every year the Pro Bowl safety has played in Seattle, some form of physical harm has found him and taken away weeks – and in this case, the rest of the 2022 season.
In 2020, it was a groin that sidelined him and broken fingers that hampered him. In 2021, it was a torn labrum in Week 13 that ended his season. Now it’s a tendon near the knee that might require surgery and keep him in street clothes indefinitely.
It’s another blow for the 26-year-old whom the Seahawks traded two first-round draft picks to acquire before making him the highest-paid safety in NFL history. And it spawns a slew of thoughts – namely three – and none of them good.
Thought No. 1
You gotta feel for Jamal. Signing a contract extension guaranteeing $38 million might relieve a lot of the headaches we “normies” endure, but it doesn’t extinguish one’s desire to compete and produce for his teammates. Adams’ frustration after emerging from the injury tent Monday was visible. He isn’t a slacker whose breaks and tears stem from a lack of preparation. He’s one of the league’s most passionate players who, for whatever reason, has been bullied by football gods hitting him with freak injuries.
Seahawks safety Ryan Neal has been witnessing this for three years and has difficulty comprehending it. The first thing he did after Seattle’s one-point win Monday was run to the locker room and look for Jamal, acknowledging Adams being hurt hurts the whole team.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Neal said. “He loves the game, has passion for it, but he comes up with something like that for the third time, and you look up and it’s like, ‘What the hell?’ It’s sad, and it breaks your heart.”
It’s true. But from a salary-cap and draft-capital standpoint, Adams also broke the bank. Which leads to …
Thought No. 2
This might go down as the worst Seahawks trade in the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era. Yes, Adams set the NFL’s all-time sack record for a defensive back with 9.5 in 2020. But offsetting his pass rushing was suspect pass coverage that caused analytics site Pro Football Focus to rank him 53rd among 94 safeties in the league for the season.
In 2021, when Adams tallied zero sacks, PFF ranked him 63rd of 91 before his labrum tear – and 85th in pass defense.
Meanwhile, the two first-round picks Seattle could have used to rebuild the roster in the past two drafts went to the Jets. One has to wonder whom the Seahawks might have lured in free agency had there been extra cap room.
You can’t blame Carroll and Schneider for going for it. The deal to land Adams was a clear “win now” move front offices need to be willing to make to solidify a championship-caliber roster. This swing seems to have hit mostly air, though.
So could this injury, from a pure personnel standpoint, actually be a blessing for the Seahawks? Highly doubtful. Because, well …
Thought No. 3
This was primed to be Adams’ breakout season in Seattle – but now the defense has regressed.
One of the first calls defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt made after being promoted in February was to Adams. Those proficient in the X’s and O’s world could make a strong case that he wasn’t used optimally during his first two years in the Emerald City.
Glimpses in training camp saw Adams as more of a safety/linebacker hybrid – an athlete who could be the linchpin of a budding defense if his skill set were properly used.
He was wowing teammates in August and early September. Receiver DK Metcalf said Wednesday that Adams “caught like 10 picks in training camp” while blitzing off the edge and down the middle – basically being everywhere on the field. He was excited. Everyone was excited. Particularly when you consider that, with Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs, blossoming middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks, free-agent pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu, among others, Seattle had an under-the-radar “D” that – as the country saw Monday – held Russell Wilson’s Broncos to 16 points.
Adams’ PFF grade in Week 1 was 87.0 – second on the Seahawks behind Nwosu, who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. The Seahawks cut Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi thinking they had safety depth. Now that depth that disintegrated.
The expectations weren’t high going into the season for this Seattle squad. After Monday, though, said expectations have at least elevated to the ground floor.
Adams’ injury hurts, though. The Seahawks’ biggest win of the season might have also produced their biggest loss.