NY Jets: 4 possible outcomes of the Jamal Adams situation
By Justin Fried
We explore all possible outcomes for the NY Jets with the Jamal Adams situation
The NY Jets find themselves the center of what could soon become an ugly situation with their superstar safety Jamal Adams. And in many ways, it’s already reached that point.
Adams wants an extension before the start of the 2020 season, understandably so. The Jets, however, would prefer to wait — also a very understandable approach.
Both sides make reasonable arguments which makes it difficult to label either as a true “villain” or “in the wrong.” Don’t worry, the angry masses will still find plenty of blame to go around — the majority of that blame seemingly being placed on Adams.
But in reality, his stance makes sense. The Jets, however, hold all the cards and their insistence on waiting is coupled with the uncertain cap situation following the COVID-19 pandemic.
It appears as though any contract negotiations have reached a stalemate as of now. And with trade rumors swirling, it’s led Jets fans wondering what the outcome of this entire ordeal will be.
Will Adams still be with the Jets this season? Will he be playing under a new contract? There are a few different possibilities, and we managed to identify four of the most likely.
With that, let’s take a look at the four most probable outcomes of the Jamal Adams situation ranked in order from least to most likely.
Next: 4. Jets budge and pay Adams
4. NY Jets budge and pay Jamal Adams
This is likely what many fans want the final outcome to be, but it also seems to be the least likely.
On the surface, it seems simple. The face of your franchise has been nothing but a model teammate, leader, and exemplary player over the first three years of his career. He wants an extension to provide long-term stability and to solidify the notion that the team wants to keep him long-term.
You pay your superstar players — this seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
The Jets would prefer to wait despite indicating that they would resume negotiations following the 2020 NFL Draft. They have, and the conclusion they have drawn is that it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to extend him before Week 1.
The primary reason for this? COVID-19.
With NFL games possibly taking place in front of empty stadiums this upcoming season, the league could lose more than $3 billion in revenue. That, in turn, could drop the salary cap anywhere from $30 to $80 million as projected by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Jets and the rest of the NFL would be massively impacted by this making extension talks at this time meritless. How could you justify handing over $15+ million in salary when you don’t even know what the cap is going to be like?
General manager Joe Douglas has shown that he’s a stubborn negotiator this offseason. Don’t expect him to budge on this one.
Probability: 5 percent
Next: 3. Neither side budges, Adams sits out all of 2020
3. Neither side budges, Adams sits out all of 2020
Just as Douglas has shown to be stubborn this offseason, Adams is cut from the same cloth.
The two-time Pro Bowler knows what he’s worth. He knows that he should be the NFL’s highest-paid safety. And he knows that he’ll likely get that contract whether that’s with the Jets, Dallas Cowboys, or another team.
At the end of the day, it’s a business — and if Adams wants his contract and his long-term stability, he could try and force the Jets hand.
Right now, Adams is currently sitting out of the Jets’ voluntary virtual offseason program. Not a huge deal on the surface, but one that could become trickier if he continues to hold out into training camp, the preseason, and even the regular season — whenever those might occur.
It isn’t really an issue yet — but it could soon become one. That all depends on how serious Adams is about wanting his extension and the lengths he might go to get one.
If Adams is truly intent on sitting out for the entirety of the 2020 season he can — he just won’t get paid. For anything.
Now for some star players, that’s worth it, and if Adams is trying to essentially force his way out of New York (for the sake of a new contract, nothing else), then this is a route he might take. But that doesn’t mean the Jets have to oblige.
Adams is under team control at least through 2021 after which the Jets could place the franchise tag on him for the 2022 season, and if they’re feeling really gutsy, they could place it on him again in 2023. The Jets don’t have to trade or extend Adams.
In this scenario, the Jets will make the final call, and it could result in letting Adams sit out all of 2020. That said, I don’t think we end up getting to that point.
Probability: 10 percent
Next: 2. Adams budges and plays 2020 under current contract
2. Adams budges and plays 2020 under his current contract
Joe Douglas likely isn’t going to budge on this issue. His stubbornness this offseason has made the Jets “miss out” on some of the top names in free agency such as Byron Jones and more recently it appears Jadeveon Clowney and even Logan Ryan.
Honestly, it’s been a breath of fresh air.
Douglas is hardheaded and practical, he doesn’t think with his emotions. He isn’t easily swayed by public opinion and he doesn’t think on a whim like former general manager Mike Maccagnan. And for that reason, he isn’t budging.
Adams, however, might be forced to.
If the Jets truly aren’t going to give Adams his extension, he could try and force their hand by threatening to sit out. But given how difficult the new CBA makes it for players on rookie deals to hold out — they essentially lose all leverage — he might have no other choice than to fold.
Mind you, Adams will not be a happy camper if he’s forced to play the 2020 season on his $3.5 million salary. And in a lot of ways, you can’t blame him. After what he’s put up with through three years, he deserves a hefty pay raise and more importantly financial security.
But the Jets aren’t going to fold here and unless Adams is willing to play a game of financial chicken with the Jets, sucking it up and playing might be his only reasonable option.
It won’t be a reality that Jamal Adams and his camp like, but it could be a reality nonetheless.
Probability: 40 percent
Next: 1. Neither side budges, Jets trade Adams
1. Neither side budges, Jets trade Adams
No one wants this. Okay sure, some might want it — but they at least seem to be the vocal minority.
Jamal Adams is the Jets’ most successful homegrown talent since Darrelle Revis. He was drafted by the Jets in a dark time for the organization and he managed to give the team a voice and an identity.
Adams has been everything that Jets fans had been longing decades for — a no-nonsense superstar player who backs up his competitive nature with outstanding on-field performances. He’s a leader of men — a “dog,” if you will.
No matter the outcome of this, that fact should not be forgotten.
Unfortunately though, sports don’t always result in happy endings.
Adams wants his money right now, the Jets would prefer to wait. But if Adams threatens to sit out all of the 2020 season, what options do the Jets realistically have?
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They could wait it out and hope that he’s either bluffing or that he’ll eventually fold. Again, there’s that virtual game of chicken.
Or they could act proactively and trade him before the season starts — choosing not to run the risk of his value plummeting as a result of a lengthy holdout.
There’s a very good chance that the Jets choose the latter.
If Adams does actually hold out for all of 2020, his value will only continue to decrease. Sure, the Jets may have complete control over the situation with Adams, but they can’t control what other teams are offering.
Waiting is a noble approach, but you could only wait so long before offers expire. Just look at the Trent Williams situation as further evidence of that.
The Washington Redskins reportedly declined trading Williams, who was in the midst of a holdout, for a first-round pick during last year’s trade deadline. The end result? They ended up shipping him to San Francisco for a fifth-round pick and a future third.
You can only wait so long.
Adams’ future in New York is as sketchy as it’s been since October of 2019. And even though it isn’t the outcome that anyone foresaw coming last year at this time, trading him might be the most realistic outcome of them all.
Probability: 45 percent