Back home in Dallas, Michelle Adams got her son on the phone late Monday night, and when she used his full name, Jamal Lee Adams knew he'd better listen up.
And the next day, with a nudge from his mom, Jamal Adams signed a four-year contract extension with the Seahawks, a deal that made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
"Mom called, she called twice, and when mom called and she told me I needed to take the contract, it was a no-brainer," Adams said. "Mama knows best."
A contract extension with Adams was in the Seahawks' plans ever since they acquired him in a trade with the Jets last summer, and the two sides have been in talks for a while, and after Adams sat out the first three weeks of practice while waiting for the deal to get done, mom picked up the phone.
"She said my full name, and when my mother says my full name, I think I need to pay attention," Adams said.
Michelle Adams' message to her son: "'You don't have to prove anything else to anybody,'" Adams recalled his mom telling him. "'You did it, you did enough, we're happy.' As long as my family's happy and I'm happy, and I can come and do what I love to do, that's all that matters to me."
Because the Seahawks gave up so much to acquire Adams, a package that included two first-round picks, they viewed this extension as an inevitability when they made the deal with the Jets more than a year ago. Yes, the deal took time, and as Carroll noted, a lot of work behind the scenes by general manager John Schneider and vice president of football administration Matt Thomas, along with the support of Seahawks Chair Jody Allen, but the conclusion reached Tuesday—paying Adams handsomely to keep on the league's top defensive players in Seattle for a long time—was always the plan from Day 1.
"This was the plan the whole time was to go after a great football player, get him in the program, pay what you've got to pay to get it done in terms of draft picks, and then knowing that we're going to do a contract," Carroll said. "It took a while to get it done, but it's over now. So the fact that we're here and everything's moving forward, and let me say this, Jamal was great throughout the whole process. He communicated well with us, he was very good with everybody in the building, he was here and attentive in meetings and all that stuff, and just respected our program as we went through the process, as we respected his representation and all. So I think it means a ton, he's a great football player. He's a young man that's just getting started, he loves being here, he's a big factor on your team, play-wise but also spirit-wise and in the leadership that he brings and the toughness that he brings, and the juice that he brings is unique.
"I also want to say that this is a statement of support in the relationship that we have with Jody Allen, and how she has been there for us on a number of deals as we made this team come together, and this one in particular. John and Matt Thomas and Jody, they had a lot of communications to make sure that we can make this come to come to life. Her support's incredibly consistent in clear, and we couldn't ask for more."
Adams too felt that this deal was always going to happen, and added that he had no intention of missing games if negotiations had for some reason lasted that long,
"Absolutely," Adams said when asked if he knew an extension would get worked out after last year's trade. "Day 1. They kept their word, and that's all I could ask for, and here we are."
And with the long contract negotiation now in the rearview mirror, Adams can turn his focus back to football and to trying to help bring another championship to Seattle.
"Man, it's a block off my shoulders," Adams said. "I'm just so excited to be a part of such a unique organization. I've always been a fan, still a fan, but it just makes it that much greater that I'm a part of the family now. I'm ready to go win some championships."
While this was Adams' first negotiation of a contract extension—he was heading into the final year of the rookie deal he signed with the Jets—Seahawks linebacker and defensive captain Bobby Wagner has been through the process twice, including doing it once as his own agent in 2019, and he thinks this deal will be freeing for Adams.
"It's a lot of weight off your shoulders," Wagner said. "During the process of it, there's a lot of things that go through your mind, whether you're going to be here long-term, so it gives you a sense of security knowing that you're going to be in a place for a long time. It allows you to focus on what you need to focus on, which is football and your family, and it allows you to play free."
During his first season in Seattle, Adams earned Pro-Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors despite missing four games due to a groin injury, and despite battling to play through several other injuries throughout the rest of the season. And with those injuries behind him and a new contract providing some peace of mind, Adams expects to be a significantly better player in 2021.
"A lot better," he said. "Going through the injuries definitely took a toll mentally and physically—obviously tearing both tendons in both of my both of my fingers, and then having the labrum at the end, and then obviously having the groin before that, that was tough. I never went through anything like that, never missed football games since I've been playing the game of football. So I had to learn a lot as far as how to take care of my body even more, because I was taking care of my body, but I can go to the next level, and that's what I did. So far it's been going great, and that's the plan is staying healthy."
And Adams doesn't just see improvement happening for himself individually, but also for a defense that started last year struggling to stop teams, but that by the end of the season was one of the best defenses in the league, allowing 16.0 points per game over the second half of the season.
"The sky's the limit, man," he said. "We're very versatile in a lot of ways, we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things. It could get scary. We've just got to continue to do the little things the right way at all times, continue to come out here and practice and get better."
And on Tuesday, Adams was back on the field, practicing and getting better having just signed a life-changing contract prior to practice. Adams signing that contract was a moment that needed a little nudge from Michelle Adams to finally take place, and it was one that he shared via video chat with his dad, George, as he put pen to paper. Like his son, George Adams was a first-round pick, but due to a devastating hip injury after his rookie season, the elder Adams didn't get to experience reaching a lucrative, multi-year extension like his son, which is why Jamal Adams wanted to share the moment with his dad.
"He's just so proud," Adams said. "Making my father proud, making my loved ones proud, there's nothing like that. I don't really care about what anybody says about me. It's about my family, that's my why. That's why I do what I do on this field. So just seeing how happy they are, there's nothing like it."