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New York Jets: Jamal Adams is proof that value supersedes position

NY Jets, Jamal Adams (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Jamal Adams (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams has proven that a player’s true value must not be defined by the position he plays, but by his actual production.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams has had quite the eventful few months, to say the least. From a trade deadline fiasco that almost saw him shipped away to a Defensive Player of the Week honor, 2019 has certainly been an interesting year for Adams.

After nearly being shipped out of town, Adams has responded by putting together the best three-game stretch perhaps in his entire NFL career. The LSU product is playing the best football of his life right now, and it’s been fun to watch.

His Defensive Player of the Week performance two weeks ago against the New York Giants was truly something to behold. Adams recorded a season-high nine tackles and managed two sacks of Daniel Jones including one that will forever remain a career highlight for the young safety.

Adams blew past running back Saquon Barkley and burst into the backfield, stripped the ball out of Jones’ hands, and sprinted into the end zone while a still-standing Jones watched helplessly from afar.

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It was one of two forced fumbles on an afternoon that also included a Troy Polamalu-esque leap over the line of scrimmage to halt Barkley on 4th-and-short.

But somehow, Adams may have just topped himself again with another incredible performance this week.

The 24-year-old was once again all over the field and this time picked up a whopping three sacks of quarterback Dwayne Haskins. This marked the first time a Jets defensive back had ever managed three sacks in a game and only the second time since 2010 that the feat had been accomplished by an NFL player.

Adams now has six sacks in his last three games and in total for the season which is already a single-season record for a Jets defensive back. And his 11.5 career sacks in less than three seasons is more than any defensive back in Jets history.

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In fact, Adams is just two sacks shy of the NFL record for sacks in a season by a defensive back. But on top of that, he continues to excel in pass coverage as just a few weeks ago he was Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 ranked player in coverage.

Not safety. Not defensive back. Player.

Prior to this week, Adams’ 89.8 Pro Football Focus grade was also first out of all qualified safeties and it’s likely that grade continues to skyrocket after this week.

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Adams is the best safety in the league right now, it’s getting harder and harder to argue that fact. But here’s the thing. Call him a “safety” understates the actual impact that he has on the field.

Adams is more than his position, he’s more than the role he plays. Because simply put, Adams plays every role.

He is the Jets best pass rusher, the team’s best run defender, and also their best in pass coverage. He quite literally does it all for this Jets defense and all of that should be taken into account when discussing his true value.

During the entire trade deadline debacle, there were plenty who attempted to diminish Adams’ true value by restricting him to his position. In essence, they tried to pigeonhole him as a player who excelled at his position, but had a reduced impact on games because of said position.

At this point, I think it’s pretty clear that just isn’t the case.

Jamal Adams is the most impactful player on the field and typically holds that distinction no matter who the Jets are playing. There are few players in the NFL — sans quarterbacks — who are as game-changing and tone-setting as Adams is.

He’s the complete package — and not just for a safety. He’s the complete package for a defensive savant. The latter is likely more indicative of his true “position.”

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So maybe it’s time we stop calling Jamal Adams a safety and instead just refer to him as what he truly is.

A football player — and a damn good one at that.