After 26 games, the New York Jets are finally starting to see tangible results from the Jamal Adams trade.
Rookie wideout Garrett Wilson, who the Jets selected 10th overall in 2022 with the second first-round pick they acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the Adams deal, caught eight receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. His second score also capped off a wild comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.
Wilson’s performance and the subsequent victory for the Jets was perhaps the first real example of the team’s blockbuster trade leading directory to a win since New York dealt with their star safety before the 2020 season.
Let’s quickly recap the move: The Jets received a 2021 first-round pick, a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald, while the Seahawks received Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick. And following this year’s draft, the Jets ended up with two starters: guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and Wilson (the Jets used that 2021 third-rounder to trade up to No. 14 to take Vera-Tucker). The Seahawks, meanwhile, have Adams and drafted rookie cornerback Coby Bryant with the Jets’ selection (who was coincidentally the college teammate of the Jets’ 2022 No. 4 overall pick, Ahmad Gardner).
When he dealt Adams, Jets general manager Joe Douglas called the trade “a unique opportunity to improve our team with multiple first-round picks in each of the next two years and the flexibility to continue to build this team for the future.” He did that with Vera-Tucker and Wilson, but only now are the Jets finally seeing the results of that move. Both look like important pieces for whatever Douglas and the Jets are constructing in New York.
Vera-Tucker had a solid rookie campaign but looks much improved as a second-year player. He’s the sixth-highest-rated guard, according to Pro Football Focus, through two weeks and the third-highest-rated run blocker. Vera-Tucker has some work to do in pass protection, though, after he allowed three pressures in each of the past two games.
Wilson, though, is the crown jewel. He entered the year as the Jets’ third receiver behind Corey Davis and Elijah Moore but quickly established himself as the No. 1 option against the Browns. His fluidity and speed were touted prior to the draft and all the positives around him were on display in his second career game. The Jets still don’t know what they have in quarterback Zach Wilson, but at least the team should feel confident enough in their pass-catchers after the other Wilson’s breakout performance.
Now, the Seahawks didn’t lose this trade, per se. Adams was Pro Bowler when he joined the team in 2020 and is still considered one of the better safeties in the NFL. But he’s also been incredibly injury prone for Seattle. By the end of this year, he’ll have played in only half of the Seahawks’ 50 games over the past three seasons after he suffered a torn quad in Week 1 that required season-ending surgery. Seattle is also paying him the third-most money of any safety in the NFL, money they could have spent elsewhere had they not also shipped three picks away for him.
Bryant, the Seahawks’ other acquisition in the trade, hasn’t been very good through his first two NFL games. He’s allowed five receptions on six targets for 100 total yards and one touchdown so far this year. But Bryant is just a rookie fourth-rounder. He has room to grow. His progression also isn’t nearly as important as Adams’ effect on the team. Though, Adams’ inability to stay on the field doesn’t necessarily make him a positive addition, either.
Trade results take a while to fully manifest, especially when dealing with first-round picks. And the early returns sometimes don’t mean anything.
Remember the Browns-Philadelphia Eagles trade for Carson Wentz in 2016? The Browns enjoyed a boatload of picks they thought would reshape their future and the deal looked like a slam-dunk for the Eagles in 2017 when Wentz lead Philadelphia to an 11-2 record. Six years later, neither team has seen much of anything from that deal, with Wentz on his third team and the Browns having blown most of their selections.
But for right now, the pendulum for one of the biggest non-quarterback trades in the past few years has swung back towards the Jets, who now have two starters on rookie contracts while the Seahawks have an expensive and injured safety.