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AFC East

The Jets got a haul for Jamal Adams

MetLife Stadium, the home of the Jets. Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr.

It’s been very clear Jamal Adams and the Jets weren’t going to work things out. Saturday, a deal finally materialized and the superstar safety was shipped to Seattle.

Surprisingly enough, the deal looks like a win for both sides — well, at least as much of a win it could be for a team losing a top-20 player in football.

In return from Seattle, the Jets got safety Bradley McDougald, a 2021 first-round pick, 2021 third-round pick and 2022 first-round pick. The Jets also sent a 2022 fourth-round pick to Seattle.

McDougald is a quality starter, working his way from an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs to a starter with the Buccaneers and a leader of the Seahawks defense over the past couple of seasons. Starting 30 of the 31 games he’s played, McDougald has pulled down five-interceptions, recorded 15 passes defended and forced four fumbles. For reference, the interceptions are three more than Adams and the passes defended and forced fumbles are just four and one lower respectively. McDougald won’t bring the pass rush presence of Adams, he’s much more of a pure coverage safety, but he should be able to fill that role pretty well.

He’s not going to be Jamal Adams, but the Jets still got back a really quality player in return.

However, he’s clearly not the focal point of the deal — the two first-round picks are. Not many expected Jets GM Joe Douglas to be able to get two first-round picks in return for Adams. Sure, they’re probably going to be late first-round pick seeing as the Seahawks are going to be good, but it’s still two first nonetheless.

It’s rare two firsts are sent in a deal anyway, seeing as it’s happened just a handful of times in NFL history.

Most recently the Rams sent two firsts to the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey, a consensus top cornerback in the league. Before that the Texans sent two firsts to the Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, another consensus top player at his position. And, unlike Adams, they play two of the so-called “premium positions.” Adams does not.

In a 2015 article on NFL.com by analyst Bucky Brooks where he ranked the importance of all 22 starting spots, kicker, punter and return man, the left tackle ranked No. 3 and left cornerback ranked No. 4. Strong safety ranked No. 18.

In a 2017 article on FoxSports.com by Cameron DaSilva that ranked the positions more generally (grouped all cornerbacks, safeties, offensive tackles and other positions that have multiple starters), cornerback was put at No. 4 and offensive tackle No. 3 while safety was put at No. 6. Good, but still not as valuable as one of the premium positions.

The positions also get paid accordingly. Currently, there are 13 cornerbacks and 14 left tackles with an average annual value higher than the highest paid strong safety. Even of the two safety positions, strong safety is valued as the lesser of the two, with the eight highest-paid players at the position being free safeties.

Don’t get me wrong, Adams is a superstar, he’s just a superstar at non-premium position. The fact Douglas was able to get two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a replacement safety is absurd.

Adams will help the Seahawks win now. They’ve made the playoffs eight of the past ten seasons including the past two but haven’t made it past the divisional round since 2014. In a division where every team looks like they will be able to compete at least in some form, Adams gives them a much-needed boost.

But he’s made it clear he wants to be paid as one of the best players in football, and the Seahawks will need to give him that money so they didn’t give up two first-round picks for a rental. Adams holds all the cards.

They probably will sign him, but the question remains if it’s worth investing that much money into a non-premium position.

For the Jets, this helps them build for the future. They likely weren’t going to be serious contenders with Adams and his departure pretty much assures that. Instead, it gives Joe Douglas a lot of draft capital to work with to build around franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. Not only that, but it frees up money that would have gone to Adams to reinvest elsewhere, like an extension for Darnold.

The Jets turned a disgruntled asset into a lot of potential for the future. Obviously, potential is a dangerous word. The real judge of this trade will be what the Jets do with the picks, but after a first draft from Douglas that as of now looks like a success, there’s hope he can continue building on the strong young core he already has.

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