Top Free Agent Landing Spots For S Jamal Adams

What to do with Jamal Adams? It’s a question that I not only had to ask myself as I outlined this article, but one that NFL defensive coordinators will have to ask themselves as they consider potentially signing Adams to a contract ahead of the 2024 season. 

Jamal Adams

The former Seahawk and Jet has been listed and played as a safety for his entire seven-year NFL career. But “safety” is a broad job description that covers a variety of tasks depending on the scheme. A safety could be asked to patrol the deep part of the field as the last line of defense, drop into the box to set the edge against the run, lock up a tight end or slot receiver in man coverage, blitz off the edge and more — maybe all in the same defensive series. 

Adams may be a safety but his skillset has always been narrower than what’s traditional for the position. Listed at 6-1 and 213 pounds, Adams has the build of a traditional “strong” safety. He’s a physical player and his top superpower is his ability as a blitzer. He holds the NFL single-season record for sacks from a safety with 9.5. 

However, the further away from the line of scrimmage Adams is deployed, the more minimal his impact. He’s not a complete liability in coverage but he’s not the type of movable chess piece defensive coordinators can use to counter matchup weapons from opposing offenses. 

Perhaps the bigger issue, however, is that Adams’ body does not seem capable of sustaining his violent style of play. Injuries have robbed Adams of the majority of the past three seasons and he’s played just 10 games the past two seasons. Adams hasn’t played a full season since his second year in the NFL in 2018, and his injury history is extensive: 

  • Between a concussion and knee strain, was limited to nine games in 2023. 
  • Season-ending torn quad tendon in Week 1 of 2022. 
  • Torn labrum in Week 13 in 2021, went on injured reserve but was able to return for playoffs. 
  • Missed four games with a groin injury in 2020, also dislocated his fingers but played through those injuries. 
  • Ankle injury in 2019, missed some time but played through it in others

At just 28 years old, Adams is young enough in theory to have quality years of production left. In his prime, Adams was one of the NFL’s most unique defenders and one of just a few who could take over a game. There’s been buzz that the Seahawks are interested in a reunion and moving him from safety to linebacker to better utilize his talents.

But if Adams moves to linebacker, can his body take the pounding? Is he big and physical enough to not be a liability against the run? If he’s a sub-package player, can defensive coordinators avoid being predictable and letting opposing offenses isolate Adams in unfavorable matchups? 

Ultimately, Adams’ injury history and scheme-specific abilities will make it hard for most teams to project a fit. It will take a creative and detailed defensive staff to put Adams in position to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses.

At this point, teams have to ask themselves if the juice is worth the squeeze. 

Adams, 28, is a former first-round pick of the Jets out of LSU back in 2017. He played out the fourth year of his four-year rookie contract worth $22,256,084, which included a signing bonus of $14,326,244.

The Jets exercised Adams’ fifth-year option before ultimately trading him to the Seahawks for a package including two first-round picks. Seattle later signed him to a four-year, $70 million extension in August of 2021. 

The Seahawks released Adams this past March.

In 2023, Adams appeared in nine games for the Seahawks and recorded 48 tackles and two pass defenses.

We have him included in our Top 100 – 2024 NFL Free Agents list.


The Ravens are the natural place to start the conversation about potential landing spots for Adams given they’ve shown the most interest that we know about so far. They’re the only team outside of the Seahawks to be publicly linked to Adams and the only team to host him on a free agent visit. 

It also makes a lot of sense that Baltimore would be interested. The team could use some more depth at safety this offseason after departures over the past calendar year have thinned things out behind Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams. Adams also has a different level of physicality than anyone else on the roster. 

Baltimore is also a strong fit schematically for Adams, even though he is kind of a one-trick pony. While the system is built to deceive opponents by asking defensive players to execute a variety of jobs at a competent level, it’s also malleable to the skills of the individual players and works to highlight their strengths. 

Some of that can be credited to former DC Mike Macdonald and it remains to be seen if new DC Zach Orr has that same touch, even if he’s planning to run the same system as Macdonald. Still, it’s a lot easier to project a fit with the Ravens than it is most other teams. Adams might not be a starter with the Ravens but putting both him and Hamilton on the field at the same time would give the Ravens two dangerous blitzers and cause problems for offenses trying to sort out their protection rules — regardless of whether either player is actually blitzing when the ball is snapped. 


Personal connections are important when projecting fits for any player, but especially one like Adams. Not only does he have a unique skillset but Adams also has a volatile personality that’s not going to be a fit for every coach or team. Coaches who have worked with him before will be far more comfortable signing off on bringing him in. 

That’s why the Raiders check some important boxes for Adams. They have coaches on staff who worked with Adams in New York, including LB coach Mike Caldwell and pass rush specialist Andre Carter. Raiders DC Patrick Graham is one of the most creative defensive coaches in the league and is adept at molding his system to the strengths of his players. He’s on the short list of NFL defensive coordinators Adams could thrive with. 

Adams is also exactly the kind of culture-setter HC Antonio Pierce wants to add as he molds the identity of the team. Pierce wants the Raiders to be bullies and Adams plays like a bully. 

From a personnel standpoint, Adams could either be a third safety who has a specific sub-package role or a dime linebacker. He’d be good depth behind LB Divine Deablo who converted from college safety to NFL linebacker. There’s not a clear starting role for him right now in Las Vegas unless there’s an injury but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a valuable contributor. 


Adams played under Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles for his first two seasons in New York and those were some of his best years. The defensive coordinator those years was Kacy Rodgers who is the co-DC with Bowles in Tampa Bay right now as well. Both men have seen Adams at his best and also left before things went off the rails between him and the Jets. 

In terms of fit on the field, the Buccaneers don’t have as much of an opening as some other teams on this list. Safety is in good hands between Antoine Winfield Jr., the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive back, and veteran Jordan Whitehead who returns to Tampa Bay after a few seasons with the Jets and has a similar play style to Adams. The Bucs also used a third-round pick on former Georgia S Tykee Smith and the plan seems to be to start him at nickel defender. He’ll compete with 2023 UDFA standout Christian Izien

There might be more of an opening at linebacker. Tampa Bay is going into the 2024 season with Lavonte David and K.J. Britt as its starting duo. David remains pretty close to an every-down player even at 34 years old but Britt is more of a two-down run-stuffer who got a bigger role because of former first-round LB Devin White‘s inconsistency. It’s possible Adams could platoon with Britt and give the Bucs defense a boost in that way. 


Titans DC Dennard Wilson is another notable connection to Adams from his early days with the Jets. Wilson was Adams’ position coach and in the years since has continued to climb the ranks. He now runs the entire defensive side of the ball in Tennessee and is a potential future head coaching candidate if things go well. 

The fit for Adams with the Titans is similar to with the Bucs, but a little cleaner. Tennessee has two starters in Amani Hooker and Elijah Molden but the depth chart behind them is wide open and both are less entrenched than Tampa Bay’s starters. Adams could easily have a role as the third safety and has a path to earn more. 

Adams could also potentially help the Titans at linebacker as well where the depth chart is wide-open. Tennessee added Kenneth Murray as a free agent and used a fourth-round pick on Cedric Gray. Seventh-rounder James Williams was a college safety who seems likely to transition to linebacker in the mold of Jayron Kearse, and holdovers include former college free agents Jack Gibbens and Otis Reese

If Adams can successfully make the transition to linebacker and Wilson has a good plan for how to deploy him, there’s very little standing in his way on the current depth chart. 

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