As the Seahawks move toward going year-to-year with Jamal Adams, putting the franchise tag on him stands to get messy.
Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is having a hold-in, lest he be fined as he seeks a contract extension that would reset the top of the market for the position. However, the Seahawks have drawn a line in the sand with a final offer and they are prepared to go year-to-year with him.
Going year-to-year of course means letting Adams play out his fifth-year option this year, then giving him the franchise tag in 2022 and 2023 if it comes to that.
Adams is set to make $9.86 million this year. The projected 2022 franchise tag for safeties is $13.55 million. Then he’d be due $16.26 million under the franchise tag again in 2023. A third franchise tag is possible, but it would not be palatable.
Franchise tagging Jamal Adams is in line to get very messy
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Adams would challenge his position designation under the franchise tag if the Seahawks tagged him as a safety. His grievance would argue that he’s a linebacker, and would be rooted in where he lined up the most during the coming season. There have been similar grievances by other players, with significant differences in franchise tag values (tight end vs. wide receiver, linebacker vs. defensive end/edge rusher).
According to Pro Football Focus (h/t to Rotoworld), Adams lined up as a linebacker for 390 snaps in 2020. According to Pro Football Reference’s data, that was nearly half the snaps he played (784). That 50 percent mark stands to be important in Adams trying to say he’s a linebacker.
The difference between the franchise tag value for safeties and linebackers is very different, as expected. As mentioned, the 2022 franchise tag for safeties is projected to be $13.55 million. Linebackers are lumped together, without designation as outside or inside, but the projected franchise tag for 2022 is $17.87 million. Over a three-year span after being tagged twice, as outlined by Florio, that would be a difference of $9.5 million.
The Seahawks are learning what the Jets did–that Adams is equal parts stubborn and talented. Absent a sudden shift, both sides are dug in on what’s moving toward being a very messy franchise tag situation.