John Schneider just pulled off his biggest blockbuster since the Percy Harvin debacle seven years ago. By draft picks, it is the most grandiose deal Schneider has ever made.
The reported terms: Jamal Adams and a fourth-rounder in 2022 for a first and third in 2021, a first in 2022 and Bradley McDougald.
It’s a ton to give up for a safety. In most cases, you would say way too much. But there are extenuating circumstances all around this one – from the team that made the deal to the year it was made.
It’s not like the Seahawks are giving up two top-10 picks. When you crunch the value, based on where they typically draft, they basically gave up the equivalent of the 13th overall pick along with McDougald for a 24-year-old All-Pro.
The Hawks never draft high anymore. Russell Wilson’s excellence keeps them in the playoffs and the deep 20s. And they never make good picks there: In the past three years, they have drafted Rashaad Penny 27th, L.J. Collier 29th and Jordyn Brooks 27th.
Why do you think Schneider always tries to trade down? He knows (a) he won’t get good value in the 20s and (b) the odds of a bust are pretty high.
But why spend all of that capital on a superstar safety? Because Pete Carroll loves great secondaries – and he has not been able to replace Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor over the past two years with the guys Seattle added in Rounds 2-4 (Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, Marquise Blair). So he has bought a star safety tandem – expecting Adams and Quandre Diggs to fortify a secondary that had big problems for much of 2019.
There’s no question that is a lot to give the Jets in the hopes a star safety will fix what ails Seattle’s pass defense. For what they gave up for Adams, the Hawks could have had a star receiver (DeAndre Hopkins or Stefan Diggs) and corner (Darius Slay) and defensive tackle (DeForest Buckner).
Based purely on draft price, the Hawks could have had Hopkins and Slay for less than what they paid for Adams. Those guys cost a 2, 3 and 5. Of course, they also cost a lot of money — $13 million a year for Hopkins, $15 million for Slay.
Adams will cost $15 million as well. And the Hawks had better plan to pay him. They would be idiots to give up two first-rounders and a third for just two years of a star who is only 24.
Another reason Schneider might have been fine giving up two picks in the 2021 draft: It will be pretty watered down. Many NCAA leagues are playing conference-only schedules next season, and some might not end up playing at all. You can expect a lot fewer underclassmen to come out in 2021, under these conditions. So the 2021 draft figures to be pretty weak – and the Hawks likely considered that in making this deal. Heck, that 2022 fourth-rounder could end up being a more informed or useful pick than the 2021 third.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ biggest hurdle to the Super Bowl remains their void at pass rusher, but they seem content with Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa and a passel of young guys. And, based on what they gave up for Adams, they clearly think he will make up for the shortage of pass rush (and possibly add some himself).
At this point, that is the best we can hope for.