The NY Jets should consider trading Jamal Adams if the price is right
No, this isn’t a bait piece, and yes, I expect to take some heat for what I’m about to write. Bear with me though, as this is a topic I’ve mulled over greatly since the NY Jets/Jamal Adams trade rumors swirled at the deadline last year.
Adams is far and away the best defensive player the Jets have had since prime Darrelle Revis, and I’m in no way trying to undermine that in this article.
I love the guy. He’s the epitome of a hybrid safety, and dare I say the best at his position in the game. So why on earth should the Jets trade him?
If you’re reading this, there’s a better than not chance that you know the rumors going around about Adams at the moment. He wants a new contract, a big one at that, and the Jets and general manager Joe Douglas want to hold off on giving him big money.
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I really don’t know the reason for wanting to wait, especially if they say they have no intention of dealing him — but I trust Joe Douglas has his reasons.
Whether or not the Jets have intent to trade him, it’s something that should be explored, and there are a few reasons why. For starters, and to me this is the most important point of all, the team lacks skill at more important positions, specifically skill positions on offense.
Skill positions on the football field are positions that hold more value to a team’s success than others. Quarterback, wide receiver, edge rusher, and cornerback fit the bill in that regard. Safety, however, is not a skill position.
I know most of you are questioning why it matters whether safety is a skill position or not, and it’s a fair argument to make.
In a vacuum, having a great safety and paying him loads of money doesn’t sound like a terrible thing. And to a contender that is the case, but not for a team in the midst of a long term rebuild like the Jets.
He doesn’t have to state it for all of us to know, Adams wants to be the highest-paid safety in football, maybe of all-time. Let’s say he’s being somewhat reasonable in negotiations and wants to be the highest-paid safety in football.
That contract currently belongs to the Bears’ Eddie Jackson, who signed a massive five-year, $58.4 million extension with Chicago in January. An easy guesstimate for Adams desired contract is somewhere in the five-year, $60-65 million range.
When you look at the huge contracts some quarterbacks are getting, that doesn’t look like a whole lot of money, but for a safety, that’s a lot. And I mean a lot of money.
I just can’t see a way the Jets can justify paying a safety that much money, no matter how good he is, when there are glaring holes at more important positions.
That’s the main reason why I think exploring a trade would benefit the team more long-term than if they gave him the huge payday that he wants.
The Jets are expected to have roughly $58 million in cap room next offseason. That isn’t an exact number and could change depending on what the team decides to do with Le’Veon Bell and several other players whose large contracts may be moved on from after this season.
That also could change with the uncertain nature regarding the NFL’s cap situation for next year.
For now however, let’s just be generous and say the team will have $70 million in cap space next offseason.
That number wouldn’t necessarily take a massive hit if the team decided to pay Adams, but there are several other important variables when it comes to making that decision.
Would the team rather save the money that it would take to pay Adams and put it to use at more important positions on the roster? You also can’t forget that Sam Darnold is going to need a payday in the next few years, and whether he plays great or not, that contract isn’t going to be small.
Instead of tying big money to a safety, I think it would be a much smarter move for the Jets to explore a trade, which they may or may not already be doing.
If you can get one of the several interested teams to give up a 2021 first-round pick, along with another future pick or a player that is at least starting caliber, I think you have to do it.
I’m not trying to be an Adams hater, or even suggest that Adams doesn’t bring value to the Jets, because he certainly does. I’ve just always been someone that recognizes which positions hold value over others.
If you were to put him onto a team like the New Orleans Saints, just as a hypothetical, this problem probably doesn’t even arise. Other than a cap issue, the Saints would have no issue paying him.
The only difference is the fact that the Saints have Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders split out wide, Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple locking down the cornerback position, and several above-average edge rushers to sure up a great defense.
The NY Jets aren’t in the same position as everyone else
The Jets don’t have the liberty to say that they’re fine at those positions, when they aren’t.
The cornerback position is a bright spot this year, but in no way is a guarantee to be a successful group. And the team has lacked a legitimate edge prescience for a while now.
I’ve seen a lot of “good teams pay their good players” on Twitter over the last few days, and sure, that isn’t an inaccurate statement, but I have a different view on it.
Good teams don’t pay safeties big money when the money (and draft picks that could be brought in via trade) can be allocated to more important parts of the roster. Parts of the roster that the Jets desperately need to address.
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Again, before I wrap this up, I’m not trying to hate on Adams, and I’d be perfectly fine if the team decided to pay him and keep him around.
However, I’m a firm believer in cap allocation, and that a team that needs to get better at skill positions shouldn’t go out and offload a huge contract to a safety.
I’d like to see the team explore a trade for him because we’ve been down this road before as Jets fans. Whether it be Trumaine Johnson or drafting Calvin Pryor in the first round, the team has a history of making the wrong moves when it comes to roster decisions at certain positions.
In no way am I saying that once Adams is paid he’s going to disappoint, I’m just tired of seeing the team’s funds thrown at less important positions when it makes more sense to spend money at receiver or offensive line.
I do hope that I explained myself well enough to warrant an article like this. I love Jamal Adams and would love to see him stay a Jet for life. But if the team wanted to move on from him, I wouldn’t see it as a “Jets move.”
I’d see it as a young general manager making a smart decision when it comes to how he uses the team’s money.