Scott Pioli: Jamal Adams ‘holds a lot of the cards’ in contract negotiations with Seahawks


It’s time to start turning our attention to Jamal Adams’ contract situation. Now that the Seahawks have hired Shane Waldron as their new offensive coordinator, signing Adams to an extension is priority No. 1.

That’s because it would be a major shock if Adams played a snap on the $9.86 million fifth-year option remaining on his rookie deal.

Former NFL GM Scott Pioli and current NFL Network analyst recently gave his take on where things stand between Adams and Seattle’s front office.

“Anytime you trade for a player whose contract is about to expire, there’s a big risk,” Pioli told NBC Sports Northwest. “When we did things like that, we would try to have the ability before the trade was consummated to have a conversation with the player and the agent to see if there was a likelihood of getting a contract done.”

Apart from sending the Jets two first-round picks, the lack of a new contract for Adams at the time of the blockbuster trade was a red flag for many evaluating the deal. Adams lived up to expectations by setting a single-season record for a defensive back with 9.5 sacks in just 12 games in 2020.

That production may have boosted his asking price at the negotiation table. In addition, a slew of injuries, including a groin strain that cost him four games, a torn labrum and two broken fingers, surely made the star safety acutely aware of how fleeting NFL careers can be.


That means that playing another season so egregiously under his market value is likely a non-starter (if it wasn’t already). Adams has plenty of leverage because he and his agent know Seattle committed the pair of first-round selections in order to acquire him. Not having him on the roster long term would be an ugly look for the Seahawks.

Even a lengthy negotiation period and a threatened holdout by Adams would be a PR hit to the team. Pioli thinks Adams has proven his worth in comparison to the trade package the Jets received, but that conversation is somewhat immaterial at this juncture.

“The more important part now is can they get the contract done? Clearly Jamal holds a lot of the cards, but Seattle has always found a way to work it out and get good contracts done for players they want to keep,” Pioli said.

What will be the ultimate cost of getting Adams to sign on the dotted line? Making him the highest-paid safety in NFL history is hardly Seattle’s biggest hurdle. The Seahawks would only have to reach $15 million annually to make that a reality for Adams.

This negotiation is unique because Adams doesn’t view himself strictly as a safety, which to a degree is fair given his versatility and immense production as a pass rusher.

Edge rushers are far more coveted and given much more lucrative contracts. So what exactly will Adams be looking for as a self-described “playmaker”? Somewhere in the ballpark of $18 million seems like a fair guess.

Regardless of what the final number ends up being, Seattle needs to ensure that a number is agreed upon well before the team is scheduled to report for training camp this summer.