Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams watches during training camp...

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams watches during training camp Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Renton, Wash.  Credit: AP/Ted S. Warren

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Marcus Maye surveyed the offensive alignment, going into a slow backpedal as Zach Wilson called out the signals. Wilson called for the ball, found Jamison Crowder for a short gain over the middle, and Maye moved toward Crowder to position himself for the tackle.

A few plays later, Denzel Mims raced upfield, cut to his left and awaited Wilson’s pass. Sharrod Neasman read the play perfectly, stepped in front of Mims, and picked off the pass, his defensive teammates celebrating the turnover.

Yes, the Jets have most decidedly moved on after Jamal Adams’ departure in a blockbuster trade last year. While there is stability, albeit with an emphasis on younger players in the Jets’ secondary, Adams is making things complicated with the Seattle Seahawks. After forcing his way out of the Jets’ plans last year because of frustration over his contract, Adams has yet to strike a new long-term deal in Seattle.

And while the Seahawks are publicly not panicking over Adams’ situation, there are reports of growing irritation with the fifth-year safety.

Sound familiar, Jets fans?

The most recent flap centers on Adams’ unwillingness to agree to terms on a deal after playing the 2020 season on his rookie contract. The Seahawks control Adams’ negotiating rights this season and appear prepared to make him play in 2021 for $9.86 million — roughly half of what he’s seeking from a new deal. The Seattle Times reported Friday that the team has made its final offer: a four-year contract worth $17.5 million a year, including $38 million guaranteed. Adams reportedly wants $40 million guaranteed.

The Seahawks are playing hardball, knowing that they can designate Adams as their franchise player after the next two seasons, trying to nudge the safety into settling on a longer-term deal.

There’s a lot to lose for both sides. The Seahawks placed great value on Adams, who had a career-high 9 ½ sacks last season. But they also surrendered two first-round picks to the Jets in a deal orchestrated by general manager Joe Douglas. For Adams, the prospect of going year to year eliminates the behemoth guarantees he’d get on a four-year contract.

The Jets? They are the big winners here. Very big winners, in fact.

They have Maye under contract for at least the 2021 season as their franchise designation — with the possibility of a long-term deal after the season — and they used their 2021 first-round pick in the Adams trade for promising USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. And they still have another first-round pick from the Seahawks in 2022.

Had Adams remained in New York, just imagine how much trouble the Jets would face. While Adams isn’t holding out in Seattle, he’s not practicing until he can settle his contract. Call it a "hold-in." Not the kind of situation a first-year coach such as Robert Saleh would want. Not the kind of situation any coach would want, in fact.

The Seahawks have a veteran team with a steady hand in Pete Carroll, so they can weather this kind of storm. But this simply wouldn’t be worth it with a Jets team that is young and now in very good position for the future. They’ve got their quarterback in Zach Wilson, they’ve got contract challenges down the road with emerging defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who is ready to return from foot surgery, as well as Maye, who may or may not figure into the team’s long-term plans.

Adams is a very good player, a Pro Bowl player, but he’s not the kind of difference maker that is worth it for a young team still a year or two — or even three — from making meaningful playoff runs. Better that Douglas got valuable draft capital for a player who didn’t want to be here unless the Jets were ready to pay him a king’s ransom. And a defensive back with just two career interceptions — even with all those sacks — is not the kind of player you build your team around.

Better that Douglas got what he could for Adams — and he got plenty. In the process, he avoided the kind of headache the Seahawks now face.

Advantage Jets.


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