Jamal Adams Rumors: Seahawks Star Would File Grievance If Given Safety Franchise Tag

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2021

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Jamal Adams is pictured during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. The Rams won 30-20. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

If the Seattle Seahawks use the franchise tag on Jamal Adams, the three-time Pro Bowler will reportedly file a grievance to be considered a linebacker rather than a safety, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

The Seahawks had been trying to sign Adams to a long-term extension as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract. They now reportedly plan to use the franchise tag on him to keep him under team control in both 2022 and 2023, per Florio.

This would already represent a raise for Adams, who will make $9.86 million in 2021, per Spotrac. The positional difference will still be significant when it comes to salary over the next two years.

Per Florio, the projected franchise tag on a safety would pay $13.55 million in 2022 and $16.26 million in 2023. Those numbers would grow to $17.87 million next year if he is tagged as a linebacker, with a $21.44 million salary in 2023.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network provided an update on the negotiations, noting the two sides are "close on overall compensation."

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Seahawks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Seahawks</a> and Jamal Adams remain dug in financially but the communication continues as they try to work toward a resolution. <a href="https://t.co/NU0RuwN2rX">pic.twitter.com/NU0RuwN2rX</a>

Garafolo reported the Seahawks plan to make Adams the highest-paid safety by a "wide margin."

Denver Broncos star Justin Simmons is currently the highest-paid safety in the NFL with an average of $15.25 million per year, per Spotrac. There is a big jump when compared to the linebackers with 11 different players making more than that figure. Khalil Mack earns $23.5 million per year as the highest-paid linebacker in the league.

Adams has been known as a safety during his career, earning first-team All-Pro honors at the position in 2019 and second-team honors in 2018 and 2020. He still stands out with his versatility, especially excelling as a pass-rusher with 9.5 sacks in 12 games last season with Seattle.

According to Pro Football Focus, he spent most of his time last season lined up either in the box or within a yard of the line of scrimmage:


Jamal Adams snap by position in 2020:<br><br>🔹DLine - 106<br>🔸Box - 398<br>🔹Slot - 194<br>🔸Wide CB - 23<br>🔹Free Safety - 156 <a href="https://t.co/rvwsg5IlKs">pic.twitter.com/rvwsg5IlKs</a>

That versatility could lead to a big new contract if the two sides agree on an extension, but if he's tagged as a safety, the decision would come down to an arbitrator.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Shaquille Barrett filed a grievance to be listed as a defensive end instead of a linebacker, which was eventually settled before arbitration when he agreed to a long-term deal. Matt Judon earned linebacker money when he had a similar dispute with the Baltimore Ravens. 

In 2014, Jimmy Graham was ruled to be a tight end despite wanting to be declared a receiver for the franchise tag.