ANALYZING THE JAMAL ADAMS TRADE
There is obviously a case to be made that both sides profited from a deal that has been under the spotlight since the weekend. Everyone seems to have an opinion and there are multi levels to consider. Here is my 2 cents.
I actually favor the Seahawks in this transaction because this move can pay off for them right now. Timing is everything in our world. Seattle gets a really good player (even though it’s a position that normally teams don’t commit big dollars to) at a position of great need for them. Let’s first quickly breakdown Adams game from what I saw on tape. Adams’ strength when aligned near or in the box, is vs. the run, exactly what the Seattle defense has been lacking recently. They should instantly improve on the yards per rush number that haunted them last year. He can cover TE’s and some RB’s but he might be most effective as a blister in nickel and third down pressure packages. He will knock out potential crossers over the middle and set the tone of physicality in the secondary. Where he is least effective is as a deep part of the field, zone pass defender. Even though his PBU’s (6) and his INT’s (1) are not eye popping he is instinctive and can move very well for a guy his size.
The acquisition is a great fit for the Seahawks. Seattle gave up two first-round picks that will be undoubtedly be late in the opening round of next year’s draft based on where I think the Seahawks will finish this season. There’s no question the Seahawks are “all in” on winning this year. Adams’ 2020 salary will fit nicely and even if they give him an extension ( a year away or more) at some point, because of his impact in this particular defensive scheme, it might make sense to commit a little money. Seattle will get low cap numbers during the first few years of Adams’ new deal and then after three years, all bets are off anyway. I guess the downside is, with Pete Carroll being toward the end of his NFL coaching career curve, the Seahawks mortgage some of their future.
From the Jets standpoint, everyone seems focused on it being a win because they get the two first-round picks. However, I wish them luck finding an impact player like Adams when they will be picking somewhere around 25th or 26th in any given year. The Jets need impact players and those are rarely found late in the first round of any draft. Here is where the “timing” comes into play again. I just don’t think New York will realize their returns of trading Adams for perhaps two or three years. That’s an eternity in the NFL.
I doubt that’s just what the Jets fans need to hear? I’ll bet the veteran players in their locker room roll their eyes when they hear that the team’s plan is to be good in three or four years. The Jets have made it clear that Seattle’s offer for Adams was too good to pass up. I’m just not sure that is true. Having sat in the GM’s chair, I would really have exhausted my efforts trying to attain a top 10 pick (so I could replace with an impact player) over the next year or so. They did not HAVE to trade him now. I might have waited for a better deal and used Adams this year, in Defensive Coordinator’s Greg Williams defense to continue to refine what we are as a team. I certainly would not have paid him what he was asking, so the Jets did do the right thing there. They controlled Adams, contract wise, for at least the next two years. If he was going to play, he was going to play for them at the number already negotiated. Adams strategy of slandering the Jets decision-makers in the media really didn’t matter at all. I’d be surprised if the Jets front office let Adams’ antics get under their skin. Any GM worth his salt in the NFL would ignore what he was trying to do and move on. However, it’s now a dangerous precedent set by the Jets’ front office when they let allow the perception that good players can talk their way out of town.
I give the Seahawks an A- for their deal and the Jets a B- on their end.
Will the Adams to Seattle trade have any effect on Dalvin Cook’s situation with the Vikings? He also wants a new contract.
I don’t see any correlation. The Vikings have already shown they are not willing to deal players who request new contracts. They turned down offers for TE Kyle Rudolph in the past before actually signing him to an extension that was much closer to their terms than his. They have an experienced front office and coach who are very confident and comfortable in their own skin. Dalvin Cook enters the fourth year of his deal having really had only one solid year to use in considering asking for a raise. I just see this really as a “bag full of nothing”. Unlike Jamal Adams, he’s not a leader and he has yet to make a consistent impact in the locker room or on the field. Don’t get me wrong, Cook is a good player but the Vikings drafted another RB in Round 3 of the 2019 draft, Alexander Mattison from Boise St., so they have given themselves options at that position. Smart ! Teams who give themselves options seldom make bad decisions. With situations like this, my direct experience was to always have one eye on the future of contract expirations and give myself options. The depth chart in my General Managers office always consisted of contract length of the player. Teams who don’t have options have a greater propensity to make questionable decisions. We have all made bad deals in the past and when I look back, my worst ones came when I was backed into a corner and had no options. Look for Cook to play for the Vikings in 2020 under his current deal.
OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND DURING THIS WORLD OF COVID-19
As NFL teams welcome players into their facilities for the start of training camps they do so under new procedures, guidelines and roster parameters. One new stipulation agreed to by the NFLPA and the league is that NFL teams can have no more than 80 players in a training facility at one time. Teams can have up to 90 players on a roster if they choose, but a split squad plan has to be in effect in that case. Most teams are reducing their rosters to 80 players now so everyone can practice in one group. I see this as an excellent opportunity for teams to upgrade the back end of their rosters and some teams have done so already. The scary part is, teams have no choice but to release players who they have never had on the field. Obviously with no mini-camps, no OTA’s or other evaluation tools it makes it tough for not only the players themselves (who didn’t get a fair chance) but also makes it hard on teams trying to decide who to keep without ever putting eyes on them. Some of these players who are getting released will get recalled later due to injuries, etc. but a 300-player dump into the open market (before camp even starts) will give pro scouting staffs around the league plenty to do over the next few days and present a great opportunity. And mark my words, there will be players cut before camp starts that will end up being NFL starters somewhere down the road and make answers to trivia questions.
The other opportunity, for the players, is an expansion of practice squads from 10 to 16. This is good for everyone. This pool of guys on the practice squad will be where the majority of players will come from to either replace active-roster players who are injured or happen to test positive for COVID-19. In prior years, teams could poach the practice squads of other teams to add to their active rosters. I’m hopeful that new guidelines will come with a restriction that does not allow for poaching of players on a practice squad this year (at minimum for the first half of the year). I just think the quality of the product on the field will suffer already, the NFL should limit change and try to work toward any continuity for teams that’s possible. These players have learned systems in training camp and been trained to help each team, if an opportunity arises. It’s not “if” these players will get called up, it’s “when”. If teams are finding themselves with unprepared replacement players it’s going to affect the product on the field. The expansion of the practice squad also promotes less travel and administrative procedures (new players coming from outside world) and less players going from team to team, etc. All good things in my opinion.
With 53 players on an active roster, another 16 on a practice squad, and an average of three players per team on injured reserve during camp, teams will only have to cut eight players, on average, at the end of their training camps. So, in reality again, teams may cut more players before camp starts than at the end of camp. Good scouting departments/evaluators no doubt are licking their lips due to these new found opportunities.
THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM STILL PLAYING TO REGAIN INTEGRITY
Allow me to editorialize. Make no mistake about it, when the Washington DC professional football team is good, it’s better for the whole NFL. After all, it’s our nation’s capital and a healthy Washington/Dallas rivalry is one of the best in pro sports. Washington is an original franchise with a long tradition and history of being relevant, mostly for positive reasons. This hasn’t happened very much over the last 20 years. Their reputation has taken a hit and they need to be accountable on all fronts. If the name change situation wasn’t bad enough, the allegations of a culture gone wrong continues to grab the headlines. The hiring of Ron Rivera as their new head coach in January began to re-establish some credibility within the franchise. I think the recent hiring of Julie Donaldson as their Senior VP of Media is a good move as well.
Even with these positive steps, the team has yet to replace long time team President, Bruce Allen, who also really acted as their general manager on the football side, since the dismissal of Football man- Scott McCloughan in 2017. The next move, in my opinion, should be to hire a seasoned General Manager so Rivera can fully focus on coaching the team and not have to spend one minute being the team spokesman about name changes, culture changes, scouting and personnel issues in the offseason. His focus has to be on coaching the team.
I think young Kyle Smith, their new personnel director, is excellent. But he is in year one of a position he is still learning. I think he would even function better if he could be mentored while in his current position. Owner Dan Snyder’s reputation has taken a hit, at minimum reducing his credibility, and he does not need a bigger target put on him for sure. If I were Snyder, I’d talk respected and current Hall of Fame General Manager Bill Polian out of retirement to lead the football side or consider a proven Super Bowl GM of a division rival- Jerry Reese, formerly of the Giants and let him and Rivera be the top decision-makers on all football matters.
I think this move would give the whole organization credibility, a proven rebuilder of franchises and provide a more stable view for those on the outside looking in. They need credibility to help the coach going forward. All of a sudden, those two men would make a formidable team to be reckoned with by the rest of the league and give the organization a real chance at changing culture throughout the building. It’s going to be almost impossible for coach Rivera to do this on his own.