RENTON, Wash. - On the morning of the start of mandatory minicamp, Seahawks fans were met with the news that safety Jamal Adams would not be participating. This was always a possibility, considering Adams was not among the 70-plus players at the team's voluntary workouts last week as he works his way back from finger and shoulder surgeries.
Fans and pundits alike have since speculated that his absence is due to his lingering contract situation, though the Seahawks have given him formal approval to skip the three-day event and will not fine him. In speaking with media Tuesday afternoon, coach Pete Carroll said Adams is away from the team to deal with a personal matter and is not protesting the lack of an extension to this point.
"He's got a family thing that he's working on, that he needed to be there," Carroll explained.
Undergoing surgery on the torn left labrum and several broken fingers he played through at the end of 2020, Adams is still very much in the process of his rehab and the team doesn't plan on rushing him back with three months to go before the start of the regular season.
"I don't think he'd be working out here right now," Carroll hypothesized. "Fingers are on the mend—it takes a long time for those to be right, and we'd be very careful there—and the shoulder, so we would be very careful with him at this time. So he would be involved in the walkthrough kinda stuff, but he couldn't get the full-speed work yet."
Carroll says the most delicate aspect of Adams's recovery is the healing process of his fingers, which still need time. Whether he returns to the practice field of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center immediately after he's back to full health or not remains to be seen, but Carroll and the Seahawks don't anticipate Adams to hold out of training camp if the two sides fail to agree on a new extension before the end of July.
Instead, they appear confident that Adams will be there once the team reconvenes next month. Reflecting on the negotiations that have taken place, Carroll is comfortable with the progress that's been made and believes a conclusion may be on the horizon.
"It's been ongoing and it's been amicable throughout," Carroll said. "We recognize that he's a fantastic football player and we're in the midst of, you know, it's a big contract process. ... I know he knows he's been treated with a lot of respect and he's been very respectful towards the club as well. They've been good talks and it just hasn't been able to get settled at this point, but it's coming.
"We expect him for camp and everything should be fine."
Questions still remain about what the structure of Adams's new contract will look like. It's a rather unique case study centered around a player whose talents have transcended an arguably undervalued position.
Adams isn't focused on merely surpassing Justin Simmons's recent four-year, $61 million extension, which made the 2020 Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid safety in the NFL. He's reportedly looking to "blow the roof off" the market, leaning heavily into his success as a pass rusher last season.
Setting the single-season sacks record for defensive backs with 9.5, Adams is eying a deal that values him as an all-around defender.
As elite defenders at other positions have begun to earn annual salaries north of $20 million per year, safety is still lagging behind. The position's top-paid player, Simmons, is just the 29th richest active defensive player in the NFL.
Adams will likely find himself a lot higher on the leaderboard when a deal with the Seahawks finally comes together. With a salary cap that's expected to steadily trend upwards over the next decade, Seattle's superstar has a chance to change the landscape of the safety market.
And the Seahawks don't seem all that opposed to helping him accomplish such a feat, though there are still a few hurdles to overcome before a deal can be finalized. In the meantime, it appears there won't be much of a struggle from either side and the drama many have expected may never come.