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 a wild comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.
Wilson’s performance and subsequent win over the Jets may have been the first real example of the team’s major trade directory to win since New York dealt its star safety ahead of the 2020 season.
Let’s quickly recap the move: the Jets got a 2021 first-round pick, a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald, and the Seahawks got Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick. And after the draft last year, the Jets ended up with two starters: guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and Wilson (the Jets used the 2021 third round to trade up to No. 14 to take Vera-Tucker). Meanwhile, the Seahawks have Adams and drafted rookie cornerback Coby Bryant with the Jets’ pick (which coincided with the college teammate of the Jets’ 2022 No. 4 overall pick, Ahmad Gardner).
When dealing 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 building the team this is for the future.” He did that with Vera-Tucker and Wilson, but so far the Jets are finally seeing the results of that transition. Both pieces look like important pieces to whatever Douglas and the Jets are building in New York.
Vera-Tucker had a strong rookie campaign but looks like a second-year player. He is the sixth-highest-rated guard according to Pro Football Focus through two weeks and the third-highest-rated quarterback. Vera-Tucker has some work to do in pass protection, however, after allowing three pressures in each of the past two games.
Wilson, however, is the jewel in the crown. He entered the year as the Jets’ third receiver behind Corey Davis and Elijah Moore but quickly established himself as the No. 1 option. 1 against the Browns. His mobility and speed were touted before 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 be pretty confident in their pass catchers after another breakout Wilson performance.
Now, the Seahawks didn’t lose this trade, per se. Adams was a Pro Bowler when he joined the team in 2020 and is still considered one of the best safeties in the NFL. But there’s also an incredibly hurtful chance for Seattle. By the end of this year, he will have played in only half of the Seahawks’ 50 games over the past three seasons after suffering 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 sent three picks away from him.
Bryant, the Seahawks’ other acquisition in the trade, hasn’t been very good through his first two NFL games. He has allowed five receptions on six targets for 100 total yards and one touchdown so far this year. But Bryant is only a fourth-round rookie. He has room to grow. His progress is less important than Adams’ effect on the team. However, it’s not necessarily a positive thing, either, because Adams can’t stay on the field.
It takes time for the results of a trade to fully manifest, especially when dealing with a first-round pick. And sometimes the early returns mean nothing.
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 led 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 picks.
But for now, the pendulum for one of the biggest non-quarterback trades in recent years has swung back toward the Jets, who now have two starters on rookie contracts while the Seahawks have an expensive and injured safety.