New York Jets are in no position to pay Jamal Adams, should seek trade

New York Jets, Jamal Adams (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
New York Jets, Jamal Adams (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets would be wise to avoid paying Jamal Adams due to the current state of the roster and instead seek a trade involving the All-Pro safety.

As the 2020 offseason is now upon us, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas will be overseeing his first free agency and draft in this position. In terms of the salary cap, the Jets are in a good position this offseason.

It is just a matter of using that money productively.

The New York Post’s Brian Costello details the Jets’ current cap situation going into the offseason.

“The Jets have just under $60 million in cap space, according to That number can jump to closer to $80 million with a few cuts – Trumaine Johnson, Brian Winters and Avery Williamson all range from definitely gone (Johnson, Winters) to possibly (Williamson).”

Costello says while this could be seen as a lot of money to play with, the Jets will have 22 unrestricted free agents and their best player will want a new contract, so a good amount of that money may not be of use when free agency begins.

The “best player” in question? Safety Jamal Adams.

There is no question that Jamal is the heart and soul of the Jets. In some down years, he has been one of the few playing with any sort of heart or tenacity. As such, he deserves every dollar he would get in a new contract.

That contract should just not be paid by the Jets.

One issue that complicates this is the contract that Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson recently signed. Jackson is now the highest-paid safety in NFL history, signing a four-year extension worth $58.4 million. The contract comes with $33 million worth of total guarantees.

By Pro Football Focus‘ metrics, Jackson posted a 66.9 grade in 2019 while Jamal Adams posted an 88.2. Moreover, SNY cites PFF saying “Adams led all safeties with 44 defensive stops and 22 quarterback pressures.”

Keeping these statistics in mind, and the fact that Adams is a few years younger, he will undoubtedly (and deservedly) eclipse Eddie Jackson‘s numbers in his new deal.

Whether off the edgealong the offensive line, or any of the other holes the team has, Jamal Adams is a luxury the Jets simply cannot afford to pony up top dollar for right now. A football team is supposed to be built from the trenches out.

Adams was not a pick of Douglas nor head coach Adam Gase. For their tenure, it might behoove them to see what they would be able to receive in exchange for moving him elsewhere in 2020.

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If Gase’s response in press conferences is any indication, he is upset the team is saddled with the contract of running back Le’Veon BellBell is bringing a ~$15 million cap hit into 2020.

For a player on the roster who did not come under Douglas or Gase, this is a sizable hit. There are certainly arguments to be made about how underutilized in the offense Bell currently is and how Gase should be using him, but that’s a story for another day.

One may infer that it is a big ask to invest heavily in two players (unless the new regime absolutely loves and believes in them) that they did not invest in, to begin with.

To Douglas’ credit, he certainly knows Adams’ worth. Rumor is that while in talks with the Dallas Cowboys, Douglas was asking for Zack Martin before being rebuffed.

The Cowboys also know Adams’ worth as they were said to offer first and third-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and returned with an offer of one first and two second-round picks.

The Jets were unmoved, allegedly looking for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, in addition to a day two pick in one of those time frames.

With the new league set to begin, CBS has predicted that the Cowboys will try and make a run at Adams once again.

“Dallas will again try to spark a trade with the Jets once the new league year begins in March. The asking price may come down a bit due to Adams being disgruntled and entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2020, which lends to unlikely odds he’ll sign an extension with a team he feels betrayed by.”

As we get closer to the 2020 NFL draft, perhaps the Cowboys (or any team for that matter) will covet the star safety and give them some compensation the team deems satisfactory.

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A proverbial elephant in the room is what might happen if Douglas picks up the phone to listen to any potential trade offers for Adams. We all remember what happened when the dirty laundry aired out around the trade deadline when these Adams to Cowboys rumors first surfaced.

Douglas did the right thing, picking up the phone looking for any and all avenues to improve the team how he sees fit. Yes, Adams may have been hurt by these discussions, but as someone who has had family play in the NFL, he has to know that this is just part of the business.

Since this dust-up, Douglas and Adams are said to have “mended fences.”

As it currently stands, it looks like the Jets and Adams are currently in negotiations for a new contract. Nobody worth their salt would disagree that this would be a bad idea.

Seeing where your star player stands with figures negotiating a new contract is typical, and the Jets are certainly not better off with Adams and what he brings to the table.

For his part, Adams appears to know his worth.

“I’ve proven that I’m the best safety doing it right now. I’m not trying to be paid just to be the highest-paid whatever. I’m trying to get paid for my status and what I’ve done. That’s what I’m about right now.”

He is only slated to make $3.5 million in 2020 as it currently stands on his rookie deal. Adams deserves every dime he will get in a future contract. His services will not come cheap.

Nobody is unappreciative of what Jamal Adams brings to the Jets and the New York area as a whole. Quite the contrary. However, he just did not come into the league in this current regime.

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With Joe Douglas not going anywhere in the midst of a six-year deal, he may want to flip an extremely valuable asset to obtain equally valuable draft capital in order to expedite a rebuild and mold the team in his vision that much quicker.