SEATTLE — The most expensive item on the offseason to-do list for the Seattle Seahawks, general manager John Schneider and contract negotiator Matt Thomas is one they didn’t cross off last year.
The Seahawks could have given safety Jamal Adams an extension when they acquired him in a blockbuster trade in July but didn’t want to do so without first knowing how Adams would fit and how much the NFL’s salary cap would drop.
He was also what they feared he would be — someone who at times struggles in coverage. He played hurt the entire year, suffering injuries to his elbow, groin, hand and both shoulders, which didn’t help. The groin injury sidelined him for four games. He needed surgeries in January for a torn labrum he suffered in Week 17 as well as two broken fingers.
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Adams set the NFL record for a defensive back with 9.5 sacks in 12 regular-season games en route to his third Pro Bowl. His 30 pressures were 14 more than any other defensive back, per ESPN Stats & Information research. He led the Seahawks with 14 tackles for loss and did not have an interception, keeping his career total at two over four seasons.
“Jamal had an incredible role this season,” coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle’s wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Rams. “The juice that he brought, the competitiveness, the attitude of toughness, you just couldn’t miss him. He was banged up a good part of the season. … His toughness is just undeniably there.”
ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported last offseason Adams was looking to become the league’s highest-paid safety. That distinction belongs to the Cardinals‘ Budda Baker at $14.75 million per year. Negotiations could be tricky if Adams insists on being paid more like a pass-rusher than a safety, but there’s optimism a deal will get done this offseason.
The Seahawks typically wait until after the draft to do extensions with players under contract, though there’s no specific timetable on when they’ll try to get one done with Adams.
“That’s something that is out of my hands right now,” Adams said at the end of the season. “I sure pray that I am here. I love being a Seattle Seahawk. I love being a part of this organization. It’s a special one with special people with special guys around, and young ladies as well. So when that time comes, it comes.”
Here’s what else you need to know about Seattle’s offseason with free agency approaching:
The free agents
In addition to the Adams trade, another all-in-for-2020 decision was delaying extensions for cornerback Shaquill Griffin and running back Chris Carson. That allowed them to add players with those cap dollars.
The rest of the Seahawks’ free agents on offense: running backs Carlos Hyde and Alex Collins; receivers David Moore and Josh Gordon (suspended by the NFL); tight ends Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson; tackle Cedric Ogbuehi; center Ethan Pocic; fullback Nick Bellore and quarterback Geno Smith. Tight end Greg Olsen and left guard Mike Iupati are retiring.
On defense: defensive ends Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa, Damontre Moore and Jonathan Bullard; cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Neiko Thorpe; safeties Lano Hill and Damarious Randall. Defensive end Branden Jackson (neck) is not expected to continue playing.
Defensive tackle Poona Ford is Seattle’s only restricted free agent who is likely to be tendered.
March dates to know
March 9: The deadline to designate franchise or transition players. Griffin seems like their most realistic candidate. Over The Cap projects the franchise tag for cornerbacks to be $15.266 million, which is likely less than what Griffin is seeking. If the Seahawks thought there would be a big market for the 25-year-old Pro Bowler, would they consider tagging and trading Griffin as they did with Frank Clark two years ago? The tag window opens Tuesday.
March 15: The negotiating window opens, allowing agents and teams to begin discussing deals that can become official when free agency begins two days later. Don’t expect the Seahawks to take part in the early wave of big-money signings. They usually don’t and probably won’t given their financial constraints and expectation more good players will become available in June than usual with the lowered cap forcing teams to shed salaries. The Seahawks will be patient and save some of their spending for the summer.
March 21: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap would earn a $3 million bonus if he remains on Seattle’s roster by this date. That’s part of a $14.1 million cap charge in the final year of his contract. As good as Dunlap was after arriving in a midseason trade, the Seahawks may deem that number prohibitive. They would save that entire amount by cutting him before March 21, which seems likely. They could then try to re-sign him for cheaper.
What their draft capital looks like
Pretty slim. The Adams trade leaves the Seahawks without picks in the first and third rounds. They gave up their sixth-rounder to move up in last year’s draft for Stephen Sullivan, who’s no longer with the team. They had an extra seventh-rounder from the Quandre Diggs trade in 2019 but gave that up last year for Dunlap.
The Seahawks aren’t projected to receive compensatory picks, so they’ll have four in all: a second, fourth, fifth and seventh. They’ve never taken fewer than eight players in 11 drafts under Schneider and Carroll, so think of four as a starting point.
What their cap space looks like
Also pretty slim. Over The Cap and the Roster Management System have the Seahawks at around $4.4 million to $7.8 million below the salary cap, based on an estimated cap of $180.5 million. OTC’s accounting puts Seattle 18th in the NFL in cap space, with 13 teams currently in the red.
But remember, the Seahawks would free up $14.1 million by cutting Dunlap. They could create more space by restructuring Bobby Wagner‘s contract, though they would be less inclined to do that with Russell Wilson‘s because of the negative cap ramifications down the road.
The NFL has not set its 2021 salary cap but recently told teams it will be no lower than $180 million.
Tom Brady rookie card sells for record $1.32 million
A Tom Brady rookie card sold for a record $1.32 million on Thursday on PWCC Marketplace, an online auction house and repository for cards.
The autographed 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket card was graded an eight with a 10 grading on the signature. It was purchased by James Park, a known card collector and noted Brady fan.
“I lived in Boston for 10 years and so am a huge fan of Brady,” Park said in comments posted to PWCC Marketplace’s Instagram account. “I’ve also had a love of collecting cards since I was a kid. Given Brady’s uncontested status as GOAT in football, this card is an important piece of sports history and of any collection.”
The $1.32 million price tag is believed to be the highest price paid for a football card, eclipsing the previous record by nearly $500,000. As the card marketplace continues to rise in interest and value, this sale soared past a recent Patrick Mahomes card that sold for $861,000 in the beginning of February.
The 2017 National Treasures autographed Mahomes card was graded a nine and was one of only five of that specific card. That sale broke the previous record, which was held by another Brady card that sold for $555,988 in January.
This most recent record might be short-lived given the way the industry is headed, and considering there is already a similar card being sold at Lelands auction house. The same Brady card is up for auction, but it’s graded an 8.5 with the signature graded a nine.
The card at Lelands currently has a bid at $707,565 with 29 days still remaining in the lot.
Another Brady rookie card from the 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket collection, graded a Mint 9 with a 10 grading on the autograph, sold for $400,100 just two years ago. At the time, it was the highest auction price in history for a football card.
Kansas City Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman retires after 10 NFL seasons
“Kansas City, thanks for all the memories,” Sherman said in a video he posted to Twitter. “It’s been a great run: eight years, Super Bowls. But it’s on to the next chapter.”
— Anthony Sherman (@Shermanator_42) March 4, 2021
Sherman, 32, played eight seasons for the Chiefs, mostly on special teams. Occasionally, the Chiefs would get him the ball, and he often delivered. He rushed for 73 yards, caught 53 passes and scored five touchdowns.
Sherman was selected in 2018 to play in the Pro Bowl.
He joined the Chiefs in 2013 in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals, for whom he played two seasons.
GM George Paton says Denver Broncos want Von Miller back in 2021, pending legal issues, contract
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With a decision about Von Miller‘s future looming, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said Thursday that the team wants the linebacker back for 2021 but is waiting to hear more on potential legal issues Miller may have and did not rule out a discussion about a pay cut for him to return.
“We’re still working through it with Von, his agent, and in regards to the legal process, we’re just going to let the legal process play out,” Paton said. “But obviously it’s a serious situation, but we want to let it play out before we comment on that.”
Miller, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the Super Bowl 50 MVP, has an option clause in his contract that if the Broncos pick it up would guarantee $7 million of Miller’s $17.5 million base salary and engage the final year of a six-year, $114.5 million deal he signed in 2016.
The Broncos, as well as Miller, are still waiting on a decision from the district attorney in the 18th Judicial District in suburban Denver to determine whether Miller will be charged in the wake of an investigation by the Parker, Colorado, police department. Neither the police nor the district attorney’s office has released details of what specific charges Miller could face.
Miller has not responded to requests for comment. If charges are filed, Miller could face the prospect of league discipline as well.
Asked whether Miller’s return could also hinge on a salary cut, Paton said:
“We want to bring Von back; we’re still working through that, I don’t want to get into everything, but we want to bring him back. Obviously the legal process, what he’s going through, it’s a serious situation, obviously, and I don’t know all the details, but we respect what’s going on. We do want Von back.”
Miller missed all of the 2020 season after an ankle injury just days before the season opener. At the time, coach Vic Fangio said he had expected Miller to have “a hell of a year.”
Miller’s eight sacks in 2019 were his lowest total since 2013, when he finished with five sacks after serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and then suffering a torn ACL in December of that year.
Miller leads all active players who were on NFL rosters last season with 106 sacks.
Miller is the longest-tenured Broncos player and was John Elway’s first draft pick as the team’s top football executive. Elway stepped away from the general manager’s role earlier this year before Paton was hired in January.
Other topics Paton and Fangio addressed Thursday:
“[I] did a deep dive with Drew … very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on, but I’ve spoken with Drew … he really wants to be great,” Paton said. “We’re always going to bring in competition at every position, quarterback as well, but I like the track Drew’s on … He does have all the traits you look for in a quarterback.”
“We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to be in every deal, doesn’t mean we’re going to make that deal, but we’re going to look into everything, whether it’s a quarterback or a defensive lineman, anything to help our football team, we’re going to pursue it.”
Paton also said that he would not publicly discuss any quarterback on another team’s roster, such as Deshaun Watson, and that the Broncos would consider using the No. 9 pick in the draft on a quarterback “if it’s the best player on the board, we’re going to take him.”
On re-signing safety Justin Simmons, who played on the franchise player tag last season and is poised to be an unrestricted free agent, Paton said: “Justin is one of our core guys, and our goal since I got here was to sign him to a long-term deal. We’ve had good discussions with his agent. I don’t know if we’ll get a deal done or not, but that’s our goal. He’s the type of guy we’d want to extend.”
The return of right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who opted out this past season over concerns with COVID-19.
Both Paton and Fangio said that they had spoken with James and that James was set to return to Denver area in the coming weeks to train.
Paton added that he was already trying to re-sign defensive end Shelby Harris, who will be an unrestricted free agent, and that he has talked to safety Kareem Jackson‘s representatives. Jackson has an option year in his contract for 2021 that the Broncos have to decide to exercise by the start of the new league year.
“We’ve got to work through some things; we’d like Kareem back,” Paton said. ” … We’ll see if we can do that.”
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