NY Jets: The Jamal Adams saga and why teams should pay their players
By Chris Stephano
The NY Jets must pay Jamal Adams what he’s worth if they want to keep him.
There is a trend in sports for franchises to refuse to adequately pay their star players. If the NY Jets want to keep Jamal Adams, they must break that rule.
One unfortunate side effect of the pandemic is that there is not currently much happening in the world of sports.
However, one theme that seems to highlight most of the current sports stories is labor disputes.
From Major League Baseball’s continued failure to reach a return to play agreement between its owners and players, to new reports that Jets safety Jamal Adams is now requesting a trade, it seems that no one in the sports world can agree on money.
The Jets-Jamal Adams situation continues to deteriorate. Adams informed the team he wants to be traded, a source tells ESPN. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) June 18, 2020
Fans feel personal investment in their favorite teams and players, so of course they feel conflicted when ownership and players feud with each other over money and contracts.
When putting on a jersey, who does a fan really root for? Do they support the name on the front or the back? For Jets fans, those dual and competing loyalties are now being put to the test with the Adams controversy.
Although there is no universal response, fans often seem to side with their teams’ ownership instead of the players.
At first glance, this is understandable.
After all, professional athletes are paid millions to play games many of us played for free as kids. We look at our average jobs and envy them. We question how they could be so “greedy” and ask for even more money.
However, it is a bit more complicated than that.
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For starters, the players may be millionaires but the owners are billionaires. Adams may not be struggling to pay his rent, but Jets co-owner Woody Johnson is worth over $4 billion. It’s not like either side in this contract dispute is the average person struggling to get by.
It’s also worth noting that the players bring in the revenue, not the owners. No one goes to MetLife Stadium to see Woody or Christopher Johnson.
Fans don’t watch the NY Jets to see the organization’s owners.
The fans go to watch players like Sam Darnold throw touchdowns and Adams wreak terror on defense. The fans want the big exciting plays that only the best athletes in the world can deliver.
And while the Johnson brothers can own the Jets for decades (and make money off the franchise), the players can only produce for so long. By some estimates, the average NFL career is only 3.3 years.
Adams should easily pass that threshold, but even the best players can only play for so long.
The NFL is a brutal sport that beats up the physical body and causes lasting neurological damage. Players who are willing to sacrifice their health every Sunday have every right to get as much money as they can.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Adams is really good. He is outspoken and passionate, and sometimes that may rub some fans the wrong way. But there is simply no denying his talent.
Over his three years in the league, Adams is a two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He is a versatile defender who can stop the run and the pass. Last year, he even developed into a pass rusher (6.5 sacks).
He is a wrecking ball, a player who can single-handedly change a game on the defensive side of the ball.
If you think this author is biased, consider the words of a former long-time NFL scout.
“Jamal is an amazing player…He was such a factor as a pass rusher around the box…His leadership, he was voted team MVP by his peers. He’s a special guy.”
That quote comes from current Jets general manager Joe Douglas. He should listen to his own advice.
If it’s at all possible, the Jets should find a way to re-sign Adams and keep him in New York for a long time.