Jamal Adams

Bengals Use Franchise Tag On Jessie Bates

MONDAY: The team made it official, announcing a tag for Bates. The fifth-year safety will be tied to a $12.911MM salary if he plays the season on the tag. Bates said last month he would be disappointed if tagged, but he and the Bengals now have four-plus months to negotiate an extension.

SATURDAY: Despite working over the past two years towards a contract extension, it appears Bengals’ safety Jessie Bates is destined to play out the 2022 NFL season under the franchise tag. Bates and the Bengals won’t give up on attempts to reach a long-term deal, but they will do so with the tag acting as a failsafe, according to Tyler Dragon of USA Today. 

As a second-round pick out of Wake Forest in the 2018 NFL Draft, Bates has been everything the Bengals have asked for and more. He quickly earned a starting role as a rookie and recorded three interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, ending the 2020 season as Pro Football Focus’ top ranked safety. His play dipped a bit this past year, but, when his team needed him in the playoffs, Bates stepped up recording two interceptions, one in Super Bowl LVI.

Now Bates is set to extend his current contract, play the 2022 season under the franchise tag, or hit the open market. Franchises patiently waiting for him to become a free agent will likely be disappointed. Bates and Cincinnati both intend for the safety to stay long-term.

Bates has shown much frustration over the past two years, fearing the unpredictability that comes with a franchise tag. “Hopefully, I’m not under a franchise tag,” Bates said in an appearance on NFL Network. “That’s something that needs to be discussed as NFLPA a little bit. Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag. It’s tough; you only get one shot at this.”

With three days until the franchise tag deadline, the Bengals are playing it safe and making sure that they have a bit of extra time. After the franchise tag window closes, the team will have nearly five more months to finalize a deal with Bates. The tag is expected to pay around $13.54MM for the 2022 season.

Bates has long said that he is not overly concerned with “the ego part of being the highest-paid safety.” The highest-paid safeties currently are Jamal Adams, Harrison Smith, and Justin Simmons. Adams is a strong safety that plays all over the field and gets compensated more in the realm of a well-paid linebacker, making him the top-earning safety in the league at an average of $17.5MM per year. Smith is a strong safety that plays a more traditional safety position than Adams. He signed an impressive four-year, $64MM deal averaging $16MM per year at the ripe old age of 31 years old. Simmons is the league’s top-earning free safety. After playing out two consecutive seasons under the franchise tag, Simmons signed a four-year, $61MM deal averaging $15.25MM per year at 27 years of age. Bates is likely aiming for the $15-16MM per year range or is maybe willing to take $14-15MM per year for an extra year or two under contract.

At 25, Bates is in a similar position as Simmons was when he received his first franchise tag. There’s no doubt that Bates could absolutely increase the value of his deal after playing under the franchise tag like Simmons did, but Bates’ concerns over the lack of security provided by the tag aren’t unfounded. Both sides will continue working towards an agreement that keeps the safety in Cincinnati long-term with the compensation and security he desires. Until that time, though, Bates will have the franchise tag hanging over his 2022 season.

Mutual Interest For Derwin James Extension

Chargers’ safety Derwin James is currently set to head into the fifth year of his rookie contract, after the team exercised his fifth-year option in April of last year. According to Tyler Dragon of USA Today, there’s mutual interest in getting a long-term extension done, but negotiations will not start until the summer. 

James was a first-round draft pick for the Chargers in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Florida State prospect shot out of a cannon finishing second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting and being announced as a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in his rookie season. His sophomore season was cut short after having surgery due to a stress fracture in his right foot. His 2020 NFL season got cut short before it even started with James suffering a torn meniscus a week before the team’s season opener. James made his long-anticipated return to the gridiron this past season, returning to form while making his second Pro Bowl team and finishing third in Comeback Player of the Year voting.

James’ numbers won’t pop out at you. Even when only looking at his two full seasons of play, his totals of 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks, and 11.0 tackles for loss over two years won’t rank anywhere near the top of any position groups. While the Chargers list him as a safety, his role is much closer to a glorified linebacker. When healthy, James will absolutely be one of the team’s top tacklers. He has a nose for the football and can find his way to the ball-carrier effectively. And, while not elite in any of the above statistical categories, his ability to cover, force turnovers, rush the passer, and make plays behind the line of scrimmage make him a valuable asset to the Los Angeles defense. It is truly his versatility they value.

It is this same versatility that makes a contract discussion for James a troubling concept. Do they pay James like a top-tier strong safety or shell out a little extra to pay him like a top tier linebacker?

The top safeties in the game, that don’t play exclusively in a free safety role, are players like Budda Baker ($14.75MM aav), John Johnson ($11.25MM aav), and Micah Hyde ($9.63MM aav). The top linebackers in the game, that aren’t pass-rushing specialists, are players like Darius Leonard ($19.7MM aav), Bobby Wagner ($18MM aav), and C.J. Mosley ($17MM aav). So, obviously, if you were going to pay him like you play him, James’ extension numbers should be closer to the $17-20MM per year range than the $9-15MM per year range.

Luckily, there is a very similar player in the NFL who has set a precedent for James and the Chargers to work off of: Seahawks’ safety Jamal Adams. Adams doesn’t play the field like a normal safety, either. He only has four career interceptions to his name. He does tend to make more plays on the ball when it’s in the air totaling 33 passes defended over five seasons. Adams also tends to get to the quarterback and make plays in the backfield more often than James. In 2019 & 2020 alone, Adams racked up 16.0 sacks and 21.0 tackles for loss, contributing to his career totals of 21.5 and 43.0 respectively.

As of right now, if the Chargers were to offer James an extension before he plays out his fifth-year option, I would expect the offer to look a bit like a watered-down-version of Adams’ deal. Upon finishing his first season in Seattle after being traded from the Jets to the Seahawks, Adams signed a four-year deal worth $70MM, averaging $17.5MM per year. Based off of Adams’ deal, I would expect Los Angeles to offer James a three- to four-year deal in the range of $12-15MM per year. James’ injury history will likely keep him from reaching the top-tier numbers of Adams.

That being said, with James lacking the statistical output in college, as well, the Chargers did draft him largely based off of his potential. With injuries keeping James from fully displaying his abilities over the past four years, maybe the Chargers will have much more faith in him than he’s been able to show thus far. They value him as a player and a leader, making him a team captain this past season. Perhaps they will offer him a long-term contract that reflects that.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/10/21

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Seahawks’ Jamal Adams Done For Season

Less than a year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum, Jamal Adams is set for a similar rehab odyssey in 2022. The Seahawks safety is out for the season after his second major left shoulder injury in 11 months, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

In addition to another labrum tear, Adams sustained significant damage in that left shoulder during Seattle’s Week 13 win over San Francisco. He will undergo surgery Thursday, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets, noting that the fifth-year veteran considered a non-surgical route this week before opting to go under the knife. While the high-priced defender is expected to recover fully by the start of next season, this certainly marks another blow for a Seahawks slate that has skidded off track.

Adams went down during the second quarter of the Seahawks’ 30-23 win. Fourth-year UDFA Ryan Neal replaced him and will be in line to do so again when the Seahawks face the Texans this week. Adams had not missed a game this season.

The Seahawks gave the former Jets top-10 pick a four-year, $70MM extension this summer. He has not been used to rush the passer in the same capacity he was in the recent past. After setting a safety record with 9.5 sacks in 2020, Adams will finish his second Seahawks season with zero. He did record multiple interceptions for the first time in his career, grabbing two, and made 87 tackles in 12 games this year.

Adams’ absence stands to weaken a Seahawks defense and potentially impact the Jets’ 2022 draft. The teams’ summer 2020 trade sent Seattle’s first-round picks in 2021 and ’22 to New York. While the Seahawks are not yet out of the running for a wild-card spot, their pick could end up in the top 10 for the first time since 2010.

AFC East Rumors: Patriots, Jets, Phillips

The Patriots‘ quarterback battle will tilt toward Mac Jones this week, by default. Cam Newton will not be permitted to practice with the team until Thursday. A COVID-19 issue will force the veteran quarterback to work virtually, according to the Patriots, who have called this a misunderstanding that stemmed from Newton traveling to a team-approved medical appointment outside Foxborough. Newton has not tested positive for the coronavirus, per the team, but an issue with his testing cadence caused this hiccup. Like Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson this month, Newton’s unvaccinated status has complicated matters for his team. Only unvaccinated players are tested daily; vaccinated players also are exempt from five-day isolation periods. One of the practices Newton will miss will be a joint workout with the Giants.

Until Monday, Jones had lined up with the Pats’ second-team offense, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. This week certainly represents an opportunity for the first-round pick to gain ground. Both Newton and Jones played well in New England’s second preseason game, and OC Josh McDaniels said the 32-year-old incumbent remains the starter. The Pats have not named a Week 1 starter, however. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rather than give Jamal Adams a top-market contract, the Jets moved on via a blockbuster trade. It turns out, they were involved in a similar negotiation barely a year ago. Adams wanted to be the Jets’ highest-paid player and sought the $17.5MM-per-year figure — which would have surpassed C.J. Mosley‘s $17MM AAV — that he ended up getting from the Seahawks, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. With the Broncos having yet to move Justin Simmons past the $15MM-AAV barrier, Adams’ ask was even farther beyond the safety salary range in 2020. Adams landing his Seattle extension last week, however, stands to benefit Marcus Maye in 2022. The Jets and Maye were not close on terms at July’s franchise tag deadline, pushing Adams’ former sidekick toward free agency next year.
  • Morgan Moses has not locked up the Jets’ right tackle job just yet, with Cimini adding that incumbent George Fant has pushed the longtime Washington starter. Fant has split first-team reps with Moses, with the team listing each as a starter on its depth chart. Fant started 14 Jets games at right tackle last year; Moses started every Washington game for the past six years at the position. Despite Moses’ superior resume, Fant is attached to a $9.1MM-per-year deal while Moses signed a one-year, $3.6MM pact after his Washington release. This is an interesting issue for the Jets to have, given their struggles up front over the past few years.
  • Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips seems to have both avoided a serious injury and run into a potentially problematic issue. The fourth-year D-lineman left Buffalo’s second preseason game with an injury NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport classified as not serious (Twitter link). Sean McDermott, however, said the injury is to the same knee that required ACL surgery in 2019. It does not look like Phillips is in danger of missing too much time, per McDermott, but this will be an issue for the Bills to monitor ahead of the rotational lineman’s contract year.
  • The Patriots attempted to interview Packers executive Chad Brinker this offseason, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes Green Bay blocked the move. The Pats wanted to meet with Brinker about a job helping manage their salary cap. Brinker would have rejoined ex-Packers exec Eliot Wolf in New England. Instead, the Packers promoted him.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Watt, 49ers

After starting 16 games for the Cowboys last season, Aldon Smith has seen his career veer off track again. The Seahawks cut the talented edge defender last week, and Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes the team did not do so because of Smith’s on-field work. This was a non-football-related exit for Smith, whom Pete Carroll said (via the Tacoma News Tribune’s Greg Bell; video link) “couldn’t hang with” the Seahawks despite the team giving the suspension risk a “real shot.” The Seahawks signed Smith in April, but shortly after that agreement, the 32-year-old pass rusher was booked on a battery charge. He also was not in good enough shape to participate in Seattle’s June minicamp, raising more red flags about his 2021 viability. Smith was out of football from 2016-19, but Roger Goodell greenlit his reinstatement last year. Smith recorded five sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown with Dallas.

Here is more from Seattle and the latest from elsewhere in the NFC West:

  • The third and fourth seasons of Jamal Adamsfour-year, $70MM extension do not include any guaranteed money, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. That said, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl safety will collect all but $2.56MM of his $38MM in guarantees by February 2022. Because of Adams’ $20MM signing bonus being spread throughout the deal, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the 2021 cap hit will be just $5MM. Adams’ contract also includes $2.75MM in incentives. Adams can collect $250K for each season he notches the rare (for other safeties, but in play for him) five-sack, three-interception double. The 25-year-old defender interestingly has just two career INTs, but he has met the sack requirement here twice — 6.5 in 2019, a safety-record 9.5 in 2020.
  • Aaron Banks had a good chance to become a 49ers starting guard in Week 1, but his lineup path will be delayed. The second-round pick suffered a shoulder injury in San Francisco’s first preseason game; he will be sidelined for as many as three weeks. While the Iowa product should be healthy at some point in September, Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes (subscription required) that this should allow Daniel Brunskill to keep his starting right guard spot come Week 1. Brunskill started all 16 49ers games at right guard last season.
  • The Cardinals won the J.J. Watt sweepstakes, but they hope to decrease the future Hall of Famer’s workload this season. They want Watt to play closer to 65% of their defensive snaps this season, rather than venturing into the 90% neighborhood, Jim Trotter of NFL.com notes. Despite his run of injuries in the late 2010s, Watt played 91% of the Texans’ snaps last season. In his seven non-injury-limited seasons, the five-time All-Pro played at least 88% of Houston’s defensive snaps. With Watt already dealing with a hamstring injury that will likely shelve him until Week 1, Arizona D-line coach Brentson Buckner is hoping to lighten his workload to maximize his productivity and extend his career.
  • After suffering a foot fracture for the second straight summer, Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson received some good news. The break will not require surgery, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will allow for a quicker return for the Stanford product. Prior to the setback, Parkinson was set to see time alongside Gerald Everett and Will Dissly this season.

Latest On Jamal Adams’ Seahawks Deal

More than 18 months after becoming eligible for an extension, Jamal Adams finally signed one. After initially balking at the Seahawks’ four-year, $70MM offer, the All-Pro safety agreed to terms and began practicing for the first time since January.

Adams’ $17.5MM-per-year deal both makes him the NFL’s highest-paid safety by more than $2MM annually and keeps Bobby Wagner as Seattle’s highest-paid defensive player, which the team wanted. More information has come out on Adams’ extension, which ended months-long negotiations and stopped this saga from heading toward a franchise tag.

The Seahawks threatened to rescind their offer to Adams if he did not take it now, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. While the team did not threaten discipline for Adams holding in and skipping drills, some hardball took place. But the historically effective blitzer has his long-term deal, with Florio adding some unspecified “cosmetics” are also included, and is signed through 2025.

After news of the 25-year-old defender’s brief stalemate surfaced, a conversation with his mother late Monday night appears to have accelerated his timetable.

I wasn’t not going to take the contract,” Adams said, via PFT’s Charean Williams. “Where I’m from, we’re definitely taking that, man. Mom called. She called twice, and when mom called, and she told me I needed to take the contract. It was a no-brainer. Mama knows best.”

Adams’ extension includes just $21MM guaranteed at signing, but that figure bumps up to $35.44MM five days after Super Bowl LVI, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (Twitter links). With the Seahawks almost certainly not bailing on this contract by then, Adams’ effective full guarantee leads all safeties.

While the safety market hit an interesting lull in 2018, a bevy of deals in the $14MM AAV neighborhood from 2019-20 restored it. Justin Simmons‘ second franchise tag led to the Broncos Pro Bowl defender moving the market north of $15MM on average earlier this year, and Adams has taken it to a new place. The Seahawks can now move on to their Duane Brown issue, though the team does not exactly want to hand its soon-to-be 36-year-old left tackle a new contract this year.

Seahawks, Jamal Adams Agree To Deal

The Seahawks and Jamal Adams have agreed to terms on a four-year, $70MM deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The contract makes Adams the NFL’s highest-paid safety on a per-year basis with $38MM in guarantees. 

The Seahawks traded for Adams last summer, sending two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and fellow safety Bradley McDougald to the Jets. The deal brought them a fourth-round pick in addition to one of the game’s most exciting young talents.

Adams – who won’t turn 26 until October – has been a certified star since his rookie season. Between 2018 and 2019, only Vikings standout Anthony Harris graded out higher than Adams at safety, according to Pro Football Focus. Eddie Jackson (Bears) was No. 3 during that stretch, and Adams has now leapfrogged him by a wide margin in earnings.

In 2019, Adams earned his first ever First-Team All-Pro nod while notching 75 tackles, seven passes defensed, 6.5 sacks, and a defensive touchdown. Last year, he missed four games with a groin injury, but still showed his mettle as a dangerous playmaker. He notched 9.5 sacks in just 12 games, the most any defensive back has ever posted in a single season. And, with 83 overall stops including eleven tackles for loss, Adams earned his third straight Pro Bowl nod.

Previously, Adams was set to enter his “walk year” and make less than $10MM. Of course, the Seahawks would have been able to franchise tag him next spring, which hurt his leverage somewhat. Ultimately, the two sides reached a logical compromise – Adams gets his mega-deal and a chance to cash in all over again during his prime. The Seahawks, meanwhile, managed to get him for slightly less than Bobby Wagner‘s $18MM-AAV deal.

Seahawks’ Jamal Adams To Seek LB Designation?

The Seahawks can franchise tag Jamal Adams next year for an estimated $13-14MM. At least, that’s the case if Adams is considered a safety. If there’s no deal in place between now and next spring, Adams will argue that he should be classified as a linebacker (via PFT). 

There is precedent for this sort of thing — multiple linebackers have managed to get classified as defensive ends, adding millions to their franchise tag salaries. Adams’ odds will largely hinge on how the Seahawks use him in 2021. If he sees more snaps at safety than linebacker, then he’ll be fighting an uphill battle. But, if it’s the other way around, Adams could see a tag worth nearly $18MM in 2022, perhaps $4MM more than the safety tag.

Beyond that, Adams would increase his leverage significantly. A 20% bump in 2023 ~would put him at about $21.5MM, giving him $10MM more in total between ’22 and ’23. That’d be a much stronger starting point for negotiations for Adams’ camp.

At last check, the Seahawks offered Adams a four-year, $70MM deal with $38MM guaranteed. That’d keep Bobby Wagner as Seattle’s highest-paid defender while making Adams the NFL’s highest-paid safety by a healthy margin — about $2MM/year over Justin Simmons. Adams’ camp, meanwhile, wants $40MM guaranteed with all of the bonus money paid out in the first three years, rather than across all four.

Seahawks Won’t Negotiate With Jamal Adams

The Seahawks are “truly done” negotiating with Jamal Adams, according to a league source who spoke with PFT. After their latest offer, the Seahawks are fully prepared to let Adams play out his option year. 

[RELATED: Latest On Seahawks, Brown]

After that, the Seahawks can franchise tag him twice to keep him under club control through 2023. (Technically, they could franchise tag him three times, but the rate for the 2024 season would be a cap killer.) As it stands, Adams is slated to make $9.86MM in 2021 — an absolute steal for a safety of his caliber. We won’t know the 2022 franchise tag numbers until next spring, but it’d likely cost the Seahawks under $14MM to cuff Adams for next year. Beyond that, they’d be looking at a 20% increase — somewhere in the $16MM neighborhood — for 2023. Those figures would be costly, but still favorable for the Seahawks.

The Seahawks have reportedly offered Adams a four-year, $70MM deal with $38MM guaranteed. That’d keep Bobby Wagner as Seattle’s highest-paid defender while making Adams the NFL’s highest-paid safety by a healthy margin — about $2MM/year over Landon Collins. Adams’ camp countered with $40MM guaranteed and bonus money to be paid out in the deal’s first three years, rather than across all four.

The gap between the two sides is slimmer than its ever been, but the Seahawks say they won’t budge any furhter.