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Source: Jamal Adams would challenge safety-based franchise tag

The Seahawks have very real leverage when it comes to the contract talks with safety Jamal Adams. Barring a long-term deal, they can pay him $9.86 million and then apply the franchise tag twice. With long-term talks bogged down, that’s what they currently plan to do.

Adams, we’re told, has a strategy of his own to deploy if that happens. Per a league source, Adams would file a grievance arguing that he’s a linebacker not a safety for franchise tag purposes.

The question then becomes whether Adams takes more snaps as a linebacker (inside or outside) or as a safety in 2021, the year before application of the tag.

The financial consequences would be significant. The projected 2022 franchise tag for safeties is $13.55 million. For linebackers (inside and outside are lumped together), it’s $17.87 million.

For the second tag, which results in a 20-percent raise, that becomes a tag of $16.26 million in 2023 if he’s a safety for 2022 purposes or a tag of $21.44 million in 2023 if he’s a linebacker for 2022 purposes.

That’s a three-year haul of $39.67 million versus $49.17 million. Also, if the Seahawks were to consider the transition tag in 2024, the amount would be $19.512 million as a safety in 2022 versus $25.7 million as a linebacker in 2022.

An arbitrator eventually would figure it all out. Most recently, Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett challenged the defensive end tag. He eventually picked up another $1.32 million for 2020, and his franchise tag for 2021 would have been $20.577 million for 2021, not $18.99 million.