Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Oct 2009

Gaines Adams Traded To Chicago

Tampa Bay has the worst defense in the league. The conclusion that the front office came to: Deal away its highest-picked player. Gaines Adams is off to Chicago for a 2010 second-round pick, meaning that Chicago won't need to show up for Day One of next year's draft.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 16 Oct 2009

37 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2009, 5:03pm by C


by Rogers Park (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 8:59pm

Does this mean the Bears will have to update Jerry Angelo's bio?

"The draft, the primary means of bringing new talent to any NFL team, has been accentuated under Angelo..."

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:10pm

Wow. I have not seen the Bucs play this year, so I have no opinion on Adams. But that they would trade him so soon suggests they consider him a)a guy who simply cannot play or b)an irreconcilable pain-in-the-butt. Whichever the case, the Bears obviously consider differently. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

by BucNasty :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 10:03pm

I don't think he's a malcontent, not in the Brandon Marshall/T.O. sense of the word. But I do think he has terrible practice habits. In a puff piece this preseason, one of the local papers revealed that prior to this offseason, the guy hadn't done a single squat since joining the team. I don't think he knows how or has the drive necessary to become an All-Pro. I think he would have benefited from the team keeping Simeon Rice around to serve as an example of how to become great. Coming in after our 4-12 '06 season, I think he was unhappy about playing for what he saw as a bad team. After getting consistently manhandled in practice and seeing the guys around him succeed in '07, I think it dawned on him that winning in the NFL is hard. Throughout the first half of the year, he seemed to get frustrated rather quickly and would just stop rushing and started trying to just bat the ball down. In his first game, Walter Jones stoned him with one freakin' hand. I honestly feel like I could have done better if you only put me in for that one snap. He stepped it up a bit after the half, and he flashed in a few games last year. He's improving, but even before this trade I felt like we should use whatever very high pick we end with on a D-lineman (after trading down to someone after one of the many quarterbacks).

Bit of advice for ChiTown: put him at left end, he seems to rush better from there. He also made some plays in a couple of different games dropping back on zone blitzes last year, so try experimenting with that. Other than that I don't what to think about the guy. He always seemed like a consolation prize when we drafted him. The team wasn't willing to sell the farm to trade up for Megatron or Joe Thomas, and we all knew the Raiders were after Russell. Taking Adams seemed to be the only move left with them off the board.

by Nate :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 10:39pm

He'll likely be at LE, at least starting next year. Alex Brown is our only legit DE under contract for next year, and he's pretty much played nothing but RE.

by Brendan Scolari :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 2:55am

"He always seemed like a consolation prize when we drafted him. The team wasn't willing to sell the farm to trade up for Megatron or Joe Thomas, and we all knew the Raiders were after Russell. Taking Adams seemed to be the only move left with them off the board."

Well Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis, and Laron Landry all went in the next 10 picks. I'd say there were a few other moves left...

by BucNasty :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 2:28pm

Well, I don't think taking a running back at that time would have been prudent, though of course I'd love to have AP now. Trading down for Revis or Willis would have been awesome, though. Still, our biggest problem was our pass rush (and lack of a quarterback, but that's par for the course with Tampa Bay), and Gaines Adams was the consensus best defender at the time.

by Sergio :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:12pm

I have this vague idea of the Bears front 7 as one of the best in the league, but honestly I haven't seen enough of them recently to form an opinion. Is it still so?

-- Go Phins!

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:46pm

Short answer: no. Urlacher, as I'm sure you know, is on IR, and has lost a step in any case. Tommie Harris appears a shadow of his former self, and at this point you have to wonder if he'll ever get it back. Lance Briggs may be the best 4-3 OLB in football, but the rest of the unit is pretty average. The Bears got their quarterback just too late to make something of their elite defense, and if they want to get the most out of him they'll have to prioritise rebuilding the o-line before they get around to the front seven. The dominant Bears defense of the middle of this decade is a thing of the past.

Adams, from what I've seen, is a pretty good player. An effective starter at a valuable position. The kind of guy who, if he was picked in the third round, would retrospectively be seen as a great choice. He has done nothing to convince anyone he was worth picking at #4 (I believe) overall. On the bright side, for the Bears, he should help their pass rush a bit (and they need it) and I'm guessing that as a lot of the money in rookie contracts is generally in the form of guaranteed bonuses in years two and three, the Bucs are absorbing a healthy chunk of what would otherwise be an exorbitant cap hit.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:27am

The defense really misses Urlacher as you say (the extent to which might be an indicator that his demise was greatly exagerrated) but still has some very good players in it. Brown and Ogunleye are both very good players, Harris sill still dominate at times but at present is recovering from off season surgery (again). Briggs is a fantastic player and the backup linebackers have stepped up well with all the injuries. The guys playing best in the secondary are Tillman and Manning but no one is repeatedly letting the team down (well apart from Vasher that is but that is why he doesn't get on the field anymore).

Unless Harris returns to form it isn't going to be a great defense but it is a decent unit. The players all fit the system and the coaching and depth are pretty good. If Adams can be groomed into a monster pass rusher then it could climb the rankings again.

by Anonymous908752345 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/18/2009 - 3:06am

Does "loosing a step" even apply to a middle linebacker? I know the Bears supposedly run a Tampa 2 scheme but really? Even if he is slower, Brian Urlacher is easily the fastest Mike in football in addition to the many other things he brings to the tablea

by grassy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:18am

patrick willis ran a 4.49 40 on a partially torn/sprained acl and a 4.38 on his pro day. urlacher ran a 4.59 at the combine and is now 31 years old.

by Nate :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:44pm

I think this is more for next year, when Ogunleye (33 y.o. starting LE) and Anderson (3rd DE) become UFAs (assuming a new CBA is signed).

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:22pm

hard to know if gain Adams any good this year cuase who in right mind would watch a Buccaners game unlesz a Bucs fan or a fan of one of the team that played them

by tally :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:23am

That's pretty funny, in an ironic sort of way.

by dp1228 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/18/2009 - 10:41am

Definitely ironic coming from "Raider" Joe. It's a pretty sad season for NFL in Oakland and Tampa.

by morganja :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:52pm

Especially a fan of the team playing them....

by JoeHova :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:30pm

This seems like one of those trades that is worth a shot for both teams. The Bears get to add another defensive end to their rotation and the Bucs get to salvage something from the #4 overall pick. It seems likely that Adams isn't especially good but I think he might be worth a flier.

by mm (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:38pm

I was reading one of those "trades that should happen" articles on a sports site the other day, and I was thinking, now that Tampa Bay is rebuilding and not using the Tampa 2 defense much anymore, the sensible thing to do would be to trade every old defender they have to the Colts or Bears for draft picks.

I thought that's what this was, until I remembered Adams isn't old. Was he not adapting to the new defense well?

by Justin Zeth :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 9:50pm

They traded Adams because the Bears gave up far more than Adams is worth. Terrific trade for the Buccaneers.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 3:48pm

I think you are seriously over valuing a second round pick. Probably a low(ish) second rounder. The chances of drafting a starter with a a pick from 48-60 or so is actually pretty low, maybe 30-40% and only a small fraction of those guys will reach Pro Bowl level. Adam's base salaries for the next four years (including '09) come to a total of about $4.3m so he is probably no more expensive than a second round pick.

Adams will have to be pretty rubbish for this to be expensive for the Bears, they haven't given up all that much.

by Spanky (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 10:14pm

from FOA 2009: On the end, Gaines Adams appears on the verge of a breakout season as a pass rusher. Our game charters noted plenty of promise (“an absolutely outlandish first step … just inhuman … a lovely inside swim move … a pretty spin move”). The technique certainly seems to be there; now Adams needs to find some consistency.

this feels like Tampa's acquisition of simeon rice. up and down tenure with zona (although, higher peaks than adams), followed by sustained high level pass rushing under marinelli in TB.

mid-late second rounder for adams? hes not a vet. hes still got growth ahead. solid for both sides. angelo doesn't often miss on high end defensive talent

by c_f (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:36am

Mid-Late 2nd (50th-55th overall, perhaps?) seems like a high price to pay for a disappointing player like Adams.
Does he really have any upside remaining, or are we still deluded by the draft hype?

In any case, Mark Anderson will probably be looking for employment following this season.

by Marko :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 1:11am

The Bears already didn't need to show up for the first day of next year's draft. Starting next year, the draft will be a three day event, with only the first round on day one. The second day will have rounds 2 and 3, so hopefully the Bears won't have to show up until the very end of the second day.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as many of Jerry Angelo's better draft picks have been in round 3 or later, such as Alex Brown, Lance Briggs, Nathan Vasher (who was productive for several years, although he's terrible now), Kyle Orton (who did pretty well for the Bears and obviously enabled them to pull off the Jay Cutler trade), Chris Harris, Mark Anderson, Kellen Davis, Johnny Knox and Al Afalava. Meanwhile, several of Angelo's first or second round picks were absolute busts.

I like this trade. I haven't seen Adams play a lot, but when I have watched the Bucs he seemed pretty athletic and made some plays. He looked very good against the Bears last year picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown. Hopefully Rod Marinelli can light a fire under him and get him to better utilize his athletic ability. You can never have too many pass rushers.

by mjb :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 2:04am

As someone who just watched the last Tampa Bay game closely, Gaines Adams looked very much up and down. He had some good plays rushing the passer getting up field quickly. However there was more than one play where he just got stoned -- as an example on one play last week WR-Jason Avant stopped him cold, by himself, before leaking out for a pass. Now Avant is a good blocker, but he is not THAT good.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:45pm

You have more or less perfectly defined Gaines Adams. If he quit playing right now, his epitaph would be "not even vaguely as good as he should have been".

by Jimmy :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:19am

My guess is that Jerry Angelo thinks Rod Marinelli can turn this guy into an All Pro. The results on the rest of the defensive line have been encouraging so far with the only real downside being that Brown and Ogunleye are getting a bit long in the tooth. Anderson has been a bit better this year but still needs a greater variety of moves but Adams probably has far more raw talent.

It is a bit of a gamble to send the pick away but when were you ever guaranteed a good player with any draft pick (there is a recurrent meme that second round picks are really the best ones and it is wrong). Adams fits the description of what kind of player you should try to draft for the Tampa2 defense to a T. It does seem like he will need some strong coaching though.

Maybe after Angelo sees Benson playing like he gives a shit in Cincy after loafing for three years in Chicago he thinks getting the highly drafted player when they get the rude awakening that comes with being traded is worth the gamble.

by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:03pm

"My guess is that Jerry Angelo thinks Rod Marinelli can turn this guy into an All Pro."

Agreed. Adams is worth more to the Bears because he has shown flashes, but he hasn't been able to put it all together. Marinelli isn't a good head coach ( he was the worst one I've seen in recent memory), but he's a great D-Line coach.

I watched some Bucs pre( and regular) season and he has shown flashes, and I wondered if he would break out this year...

Playing for a losing team that other teams ( winning games) will be running the ball.... Adams won't be needed as much this year or probably next year (run defense isn't his strength).

Adams is more of a pass rusher and that's something they could use. He is interesting, he can drop back in zone blitzes and cover better than you'd think due to his big wingspan and athleticism). Marinelli has his connections with Tampa and might be able to get something out of him. I like the Trade for the bears... they are upgrading their pass rush now... Tampa knows they won't need a G.Adams run defense for this year and next and got something for him... Plus they are cheap.

by Nick Higgins (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:06pm

As a Bucs fan, I'm disappointed by this trade. Adams was inconsistent his rookie year, putting up 14 QB knockdowns (sacks + hits) as he displayed flashes of brilliance but also disappeared for games. Adams made major progress last year, and was #12 in the league in the league with 20 QB knockdowns. Adams has underperformed this year (1 sack), and reportedly the coaching staff is unhappy with his work ethic.

As a rebuilding team, I can't understand unloading Adams. He is a 3rd year player with superstar talent, and those are rare commodities. He will be replaced by 30 year old pass rush specialist Stylez G White and (when he recovers from injury after the bye week) rookie 4th round DE Kyle Moore out of USC. A late 2nd rounder and a little more playing time for Moore are not worth giving up on Adams.

It's the latest in an unbroken string of dubious moves by the Bucs new staff, from making Kellen Winslow the highest paid TE in the league to the drafting of Freeman to the debacle with Jagodzinski to incompetent game management. After hiring Jim Bates to replace Monte Kiffin, our D is now probably the worst in the league, and has no identity and does nothing well. While one can rightly point to talent deficiencies on the Bucs, it has not been encouraging to see Bates's former team (the Broncos, with largely the same personnel) undergo a miraculous transformation from abysmal to 70s Steelers. I'd put the Bucs at even odds to go winless this year, and sadly have zero faith that the situation will improve in the near future as long as Dominik and Morris are in charge.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:40pm

As a Bucs fan, I'm shocked but not overly disappointed. To echo an earlier comment, Adams WAS a consolation prize--they picked fourth, and I desperately wanted them to get Calvin Johnson or Joe Thomas. Instead, they got an undersized pass-rusher with lousy work habits. He was pretty much what I expected, an athletically talented guy who was inconsistent as hell and mixed occasional flashes of great plays with getting blown off the line five times in a row. The fact that he would be worth a second-round pick . . . wow. Maybe Marinelli turns him around.

I do agree there's a been a series of bad moves (I agree with every single one you listed as being evidence of the crappy offseason/season the team has had), this is the first good move. This is clearly a team in serious rebuilding mode, and rule #1 of rebuilding is (or should be) "stockpile draft picks". Get something better and build for the future. I'm not saying Adams was awful, it's just when somebody offers you a reasonably high pick for a guy who by all appearances is never going to wind up being anything special, you take it. It's basically getting back most of what they traded for Winslow. I hated the Winslow trade, but if you look at it as Gaines Adams for Kellen Winslow plus a 5th rounder . . . yeah, I'm good with that.

by BucNasty :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 2:25pm

...they picked fourth, and I desperately wanted them to get Calvin Johnson or Joe Thomas.

It all goes back to that damn coin flip, which we were assured meant nothing.

I guess I'm alone in actually liking the Winslow trade. He's likely better than any TE you'll find in the draft, and he's still very young.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 3:59pm

When Winslow is focused and healthy, he's a great TE. It's that whole "focused and healthy" part of the equation. IMO, if you're rebuilding, you don't trade picks for players. This offseason was the "we'll go ahead and suck for a while" fire sale and it's not like Winslow makes them a contender. You want to suck? Then really commit to sucking, you know.

I mean, besides the whole Leftwich thing. Don't commit that much.

by BucNasty :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 5:01pm

Except that Winslow should still be in his prime when we've finished rebuilding, assuming we do it right and don't suck for the next 5 years. He's young enough and talented enough that he now forms part of our core. In a year or two, he really might make us a contender. I think it's a better trade than, say, Atlanta giving up a 2nd rounder for Tony G. If they don't win the Super Bowl this year or next year it turns into a total waste. I wonder if they would have traded for K2 instead if we hadn't snagged him first.

by BigCheese :: Sun, 10/18/2009 - 1:56pm

Except it's actually Gaines Adams and trading down something like 15 spots in the second for Winslow and a 5th-Rounder.

- Alvaro

by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 3:53pm

"Bates's former team (the Broncos, with largely the same personnel)"

Bates was in Denver in '07. According to pfr and nfl.com, there are a total of 3 starters remaining (Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, and Champ Bailey) and out of the total of 30 defensive players on the team in '07, 4 remain (the three aforementioned and Marcus Thomas). It's not fair to blame the '08 defense when he wasn't there on him or say that the '09 resurgence is evidence of incompetence 2 years after his absence.

Now, if you want to feel bad about Jim Bates, here are his last two years:
2007-Den: 7.0% DVOA, 23rd
2005-GB: 2.0% DVOA, 21st

Of course, before that he spent 5 years with Miami and they were quite good:
2004: -4.1% DVOA, 7th
2003: -18.6% DVOA, 4th
2002: -14.8% DVOA, 2nd
2001: -9.7% DVOA, 11th
2000: -19.3% DVOA, 3rd

by Nick Higgins (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 9:26pm

Whoops, I thought Bates was in Denver last year. Sorry about that. The cognitive dissonance of watching this terrible defense wearing red and pewter has driven me mad. I can say that I haven't been too pleased with Bates's work this season.

I was ok with the Winslow trade: a guy that talented and fairly young is worth gambling on. It would be a solid move for a contender that is a piece away. For a rebuilding team like the Bucs, second and fifth round picks was a high price, especially when that second round pick is almost a first rounder (probably #33 pick).

What I really didn't like was the Winslow contract. He was available because he was inconsistent, temperamental, and has had major knee injuries. At least make him prove it for one season with the Bucs before making him the highest paid TE in football.

by BucNasty :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 9:47pm

Look at our cap space. I mean really, who cares? The important thing is that he's locked in long term. It would be a shame to spend the picks only to let him leave as a free agent two years later.

by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:51pm

I forgot to point out that Bates was out of football in '08, which would make it easy to miss that he was in Denver in '07 instead of '08. I actually was a fan of his back in his Miami days but I've come to the conclusion that he's incapable of adjustments. He has continued to run the same scheme no matter who his players are and now three straight jobs has had players who were not only far less talented than his Miami group (including Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain, and Brock Marion all in their primes) but who were worse fits in his scheme. Your worries are still justified, even if not quite for the reasons you thought.

Perhaps this season is also further evidence of just how good Monte Kiffin was.