July 29, 2020
BY Lance Cartelli

Winners and Losers of the Jamal Adams Trade

Jamal Adams is the latest superstar to join the loaded NFC West. 

Over the weekend, Seattle acquired the All-Pro safety — and a 2022 fourth-rounder — from the New York Jets for the hefty price of 2021 and 2022 first-rounders, 2021 third-rounder and safety Bradley McDougald. 

It’s arguably the biggest move of the NFL offseason, a potential shift in power in the NFC and a rare win-win for both sides. But even though both franchises come out as perceived winners from the swap, there are always some losers involved in a transaction like this.

Who are the biggest winners and losers from the latest NFL trade? 

Winner: Jamal Adams

Let’s start with the most obvious winner: Adams. 

The former LSU star got exactly what he wanted. He left the dysfunctional Jets — and coach Adam Gase — for a Super Bowl contender in the Seattle Seahawks

Like when the Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey and the Texans acquired Laremy Tunsil, Adams has all the leverage in contract negotiations going forward. 

And with the amount of draft capital the ‘Hawks gave up, it’d be a surprise if Seattle didn’t make Adams the highest-paid safety in the league. 

Beyond getting out of New York, Adams is a perfect fit in the Seattle 3 defense. As great as Bobby Wagner has been, it's Adams who will immediately become the best player on the Seahawks’ defense. He's probably their best pass rusher, too. 

Loser: Adam Gase’s Job Security 

Gase was on the hot seat in the Big Apple before his franchise traded away their best player, and now it’s probably a matter when, not if, the Jets will move on from the wide-eyed coach

The largely unliked leader of the Jets apparently doesn’t like good players, which not surprisingly makes his job a lot tougher. If the Jets crash and burn this season — and it’s looking more and more likely every day — then general manager Joe Douglas will have no other choice than to get rid of Gase. 

Winner: Joe Douglas 

Speaking of Douglas, the man in charge of the Jets is looking mighty fine after the blockbuster trade he pulled off. 

Despite what Mike Francesa thought, the Jets got two first-rounders and more for a malcontent who openly stated he wanted out. That didn’t give the Jets a lot of leverage, but the second-year general manager was able to acquire multiple premium picks and Bradley McDougald, a starting safety. 

After a solid first draft, Douglas has shown a forward-thinking process when it comes to rebuilding the Jets' roster. New York's GM realizes the team is far from contention and needs help at pivotal positions. It’s an encouraging sign for a team that desperately needs any sign of optimism. 

Loser: Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold just can’t catch a break. First, he’s stuck with one of the worst coaches in the league, who has struggled to help him develop. Then he gets mononucleosis, which derails a portion of his season. And now, his franchise gets rid of their most talented player. 

The Jets are in for another down year, and their only real glimmer of hope is Darnold. Floundering with this franchise surely won’t help his development, but hey, at least he’s younger than Joe Burrow

Winner: Seahawks’ Super Bowl Chances 

Last year, a flawed Seahawks team came within inches of winning the NFC West and getting a much-needed first-round bye. Unfortunately for Seattle, they were stopped just short by the 49ersDre Greenlaw.

But Seattle knows that their championship window is still open, and Russell Wilson isn’t getting any younger. That makes it a lot easier for Seattle to swallow the price for Adams because they know it improves their chances of winning the Super Bowl in 2020 and beyond.  

Similar to how the Clippers mortgaged their future for a chance to win the NBA title by acquiring Paul George, the Seahawks give up a big part of their future for an increased chance at winning it all. 

The NFC West isn't getting any easier, so acquiring elite talent becomes even more of a priority for its competitors. 

Loser: Running Backs in the NFL Draft

With the Seahawks now out of the first round for the next two years, that’s bad news for incoming college running backs. Seattle loves drafting running backs, especially in the first round. Now those runners have one less suitor for a position that is becoming more and more devalued by the day. 

It’s a blessing in disguise for Seattle. The Seahawks will just have to find players to tote the rock later in the draft. Kind of like how they discovered Chris Carson in the seventh round, while Rashaad Penny — a first-round selection — has struggled to stay on the field.

Winner: The Safety Market

Safety isn’t typically viewed as a premium position in the NFL, but the Seahawks clearly see the value of a do-it-all defensive back like Adams. 

And the value that the team has placed on him could completely change the safety market for the foreseeable future, especially after Adams signs a contract extension with the Seahawks. 

The Seahawks paid a similar price to what the Rams did for Ramsey, a corner. Adams will surely reset the safety market, but will he ask for cornerback money during negotiations?

Pointing to the fact that Seattle paid more for Adams than the Rams did for Ramsey could make for some fascinating discussions. Of course, Seattle’s counter-argument would be that Adams has two years left on his rookie deal, while Ramsey did not. 

Loser: NFC West Teams

The NFC West loaded up over the past year. The Cardinals stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans, the 49ers acquired All-Pro tackle Trent Williams and the Rams sent two first-rounders for Jalen Ramsey. Now, the Seahawks have responded with their own mega-deal. 

The Seahawks paid the price for the Pro Bowler because of how competitive the best division in football is. Adams will be tasked with slowing down the likes of George Kittle and Kyler Murray over the next half-decade. Those guys’ lives just got a little bit tougher with the Seahawks' massive move. 

Photo: Getty Images / Lines Illustration