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Jamal Adams’ Defensive Player of the Year Odds Steadily Improving as Member of Seahawks

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in NFL Football

Updated Mar 9, 2021 · 4:17 PM PST

Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde running the ball during a game.
Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (30) carries the ball during his 50-yard touchdown run against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
  • New Seattle safety Jamal Adams is a +2900 longshot to win the 2020 DPOY award
  • The Jets former first-round pick was traded last month and has seen his odds improve
  • Read below to see if Adams can be the sixth safety to ever win the award since the AP first started handing it out in 1971

Jamal Adams got what he wanted. The 2019 First-Team All-Pro safety requested a trade away from the New York Jets in June.

A little over a month later, the Seattle Seahawks gave up a king’s ransom for the talented player entering his fourth season in the NFL. Seattle gave up two first-round picks (2021 and 2022) a third-round pick (2021) and Bradley McDougald in exchange for Adams and a fourth-round pick (2022). Now, Adams has seen his odds improve for AP Defensive Player of the Year award honors since being treated to the perennial contenders in the NFC West.

Odds to Win 2020 NFL DPOY

Player Position Team Odds
Aaron Donald DL LAR +750
Khalil Mack EDGE CHI +1100
Nick Bosa EDGE SF +1300
TJ Watt EDGE PIT +1400
Stephon Gilmore CB NE +1700
Myles Garrett EDGE CLE +1800
Von Miller EDGE DEN +1800
Derwin James S LAC +2000
JJ Watt DL HOU +2100
Danielle Hunter EDGE MIN +2500
Joey Bosa EDGE LAC +2500
Chandler Jones LB AZ +2900
Darius Leonard LB IND +2900
Jamal Adams S SEA +2900
Minkah Fitzpatrick S PIT +2900
Tre’Davious White CB BUF +2900

Odds taken Aug. 21

While it’s rare for a safety to win this coveted award, it’s even more rare for a player on a bad team to win it. That is certainly the rationale behind Adams’ odds going from +3300 on June 12 as a member of the Jets to +2525 now as a member of the perennial contenders in the NFC West, according to our NFL DPOY odds tracker.

But is playing for a Super Bowl contender enough to make Adams the first safety to win the award since Troy Polamalu did it a decade ago? Is he even the best safety in the league? Let’s handicap the ultra-talented Adams’ chances at joining an elite group of players to win the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Legion of Boom 2.0?

The answer to the last question above is yes. Adams is the best safety in the NFL. One of the best front offices in the league doesn’t give up that kind of draft cache if it didn’t think Adams is the type of player that can push the franchise over the hump during Russell Wilson’s remaining prime years.

Along with fellow Pro Bowler Shaquill Griffin, Quandre Diggs and Quinton Dunbar, Adams makes Seattle’s secondary downright scary. Will the quartet compare to Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner — a group that helped the Seahawks to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII? That remains to be seen. But things are set up quite nicely for Adams to make a run at the award as a defensive back — much like reigning DPOY Stephon Gilmore did last season.

Adams Will Be in the Spotlight

With all due respect to the other seven divisions, the NFC West is possibly the most competitive in the league. It has featured the conference’s last two Super Bowl representatives (the 49ers and Rams, respectively). And while both San Francisco and L.A. came out on the short end in those games, this division is beyond intriguing.

Throw in an Arizona team led by former No. 1 pick Kyler Murray at quarterback that just added one of the most talented receivers in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins and you’ve got even more opportunities for Adams to shine.

That’s a reference to Adams’ former defensive coordinator with the Jets, Gregg Williams, saying he thinks Adams might get bored in Seattle. It would seem quite the contrary, as the former LSU standout will be involved in high-profile matchups week in and week out this season. That was not going to be the case in a rebuilding AFC East.

Bucking History

Adams made a splash earlier this week at Seahawks practice, intercepting a Wilson pass at the goal line for a pick-six. That’s a move reserved for players like Polamalu and Ed Reed — a pair of Hall of Fame safeties that also happened to win DPOY (Polamalu in 2010 and Reed in 2004).

Former Seahawk great Kenny Easley — also enshrined in Canton — won the award in 1984. And Dolphins legend Dick Anderson (1973) and Bob Sanders (2007) are the only other safeties who have won the award over its 49-year history.

While heady company for sure, Adams seems to fit in that group.

And when you look at the names of the players in the running, his odds seem formidable. I love Nick Bosa this year. And Derwin James — if he can stay healthy — is right there in the best safety in the NFL conversation. But Adams is more than worth an investment wager as a longshot. He has the talent, the opportunity and the pedigree to prove it.

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