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Larry Stone: The Seahawks gave up a lot in trading for Jamal Adams. Here's why it was the right move.
AP

Larry Stone: The Seahawks gave up a lot in trading for Jamal Adams. Here's why it was the right move.

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SEATTLE - The late Los Angeles Rams and Washington NFL coach George Allen is credited with coining the phrase, "The future is now."

The Seahawks' audacious trade Saturday to acquire safety Jamal Adams is an embodiment of that philosophy. And for a team that has been skating on the fringes of title contention but fallen into a rut of second-round ousters, it is absolutely the right call.

Oh, you are already hearing the outcry, that the Seahawks gave up far too much (safety Bradley McDougald and their next two first-round draft choices, plus a 2021 third-round pick for Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick) for a position not traditionally valued as the most vital on defense. And where they already had a solid player in McDougald.

It's well-documented by now that the Seahawks don't care much about convention - or how much that tack can infuriate others.

No, they won't "Let Russ cook," at least to the extent critics want with quarterback Russell Wilson. Yes, they'll draft a running back in the first round.

Now they've put their future at risk with a move that has an unambiguous but perilous goal: Get back to the Super Bowl, damn the potential cost down the road.

John Schneider and Pete Carroll have always been hyperaggressive - see the Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Duane Brown and Jadeveon Clowney trades as evidence. But they've never before put quite this much on the line. With the amount of trade capital the Seahawks have invested, coupled with the likely cost of locking down Adams to a new contract, nothing short of a deep title run will justify the cost.

So why did they do this now? One, they realized that Wilson was dead on when he advocated after last season for more superstars. In Adams, they have a bona fide difference-maker who is a safety by name but in reality is a weapon who can line up all over the field and disrupt in myriad ways - including the pass rush. In other words, just the sort of dynamic player the Seahawks have been desperate for on defense since the departures of Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

(And if they can round this out by making one last run at Clowney and bringing him back to the defensive line, well, that would turn a home run into a grand slam.)

The second reason Schneider and Carroll made this move, I suspect, is the realization that time is marching on. And not just for the coach, who turns 69 two days after Seattle's scheduled season opener against Atlanta. Though Wilson, at 31, is not even half his coach's age, the clock is ticking on his prime as well. The Seahawks owe it to the magnificent quarterback, and to their fans, to plunge headlong toward the promised land, rather than tiptoeing gingerly, while he's still at the peak of his skills.

It's true the Seahawks won 11 games last year, but it's also true they outscored opponents by a grand total of seven points and were 9-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less. The dreaded "regression to the mean" was waiting on their doorstep, without an antidote.

This should help stave that off by giving the Seahawks, with Adams and Quandre Diggs, arguably the best safety combo in the league. And if cornerback Quinton Dunbar is cleared to play, they will have more boom in their secondary since the legendary Legion of Boom roamed the field.

You can argue, validly, that the Seahawks still have a major flaw in their pass rush, and that paying Adams will hamper them severely down the road - especially without the No. 1 draft picks they shipped to the Jets.

But as we've seen firsthand with the Seahawks in recent years, top draft picks don't necessarily translate into impact players. That's especially true because Seattle's success has left it drafting near the back of the first round. Adams was a No. 6 overall pick who in three seasons in the league has proven he is a bona fide superstar; there is no guess work, no waiting for him to develop. The price tag for such a player is commensurate with what the Seahawks gave up.

So much of this NFL season is unknown because of the coronavirus pandemic, including whether it will be played. Even if it proceeds, the games likely would be conducted without fans, which robs Seattle of an edge it has ridden to a tremendous home-field advantage.

But the Seahawks are still going all in. Judging by social-media response, their players are thrilled. Wilson certainly is. And Adams, who agitated his way out of New York by expressing extreme discontent with his contract, as well as with the Jets' organization, appears to be ecstatic. He immediately posted an Instagram video of himself dancing to music while toting a cigar and declaring, "I'm excited to be a Seattle Seahawk. I'm happy."

So it appears the Seahawks are getting a contented player (at least for now; check back next offseason when contract talks will likely get serious) who will be motivated to show why he is worth the megadeal he is seeking.

Yeah, there are potential pitfalls that might make Seattle regret this move. It's happened before. But in acquiring Jamal Adams, the Seahawks made a clear statement: The future is now.

Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com

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