Ranking the top 10 safeties in NY Jets history

From Victor Green to Jamal Adams, we look at the best safeties in Jets history
NY Jets, Kerry Rhodes
NY Jets, Kerry Rhodes / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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3. Jamal Adams, S, NY Jets

And here is where the list gets controversial. Jamal Adams is probably the most polarizing Jets player of the last two decades, and although many fans remember him as the guy that demanded a trade rather than stick it out through a rebuild, Adams was a generational player for the Jets.

Adams was the sixth overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft — extraordinarily high for a safety in the modern era. However, he was certainly worth it. In his rookie season, Adams burst onto the scene, finishing with 83 tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two sacks, nine tackles for loss, and six passes defended.

Most impressive for Adams was his ability to line up all over the field, being the face of the new "positionless football" that coaches desired.

Adams could line up on tight ends in coverage, play on the line of scrimmage blitzing off the edge, or line up on passing downs as an extra linebacker. He was at his best as a downhill defender and would perfect that skill in the coming years.

Adams started to put it all together in his sophomore season. In that 2018 campaign, Adams tallied 115 tackles, three and a half sacks, nine tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits, an interception, and 12 passes defended. It was good enough to earn him a trip to the Pro Bowl and a second-team All-Pro award.

His third and final season with the team came in 2019, by far his most dominant and one of the most dominant seasons for any safety in NFL history.

In just 14 games, Adams finished with 75 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, six and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, seven passes defended, and an interception. He earned another Pro Bowl nomination as well as a first-team All-Pro award.

After that season things got ugly between the Jets and Adams. Adams wanted a top-of-the-market contract, based on his ability to impact the game as a pass-rusher and box tackler, as well as the leader of the team.

The Jets argued Adams was just a system fit as he struggled to cover receivers and tight ends, rarely ever intercepting passes or deflecting passes away. In the end, both sides got what they wanted.

Adams was dealt to Seattle for picks that would turn into Alijah Vera-Tucker and Garrett Wilson, while the All-Pro safety got his big payday.

One could pretty easily argue the Jets were right about Adams. He never reached the 2018/2019 pinnacle again. In three seasons with Seattle, Adams has only played in 25 games, recording 173 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defended, one forced fumble, 9.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 17 quarterback hits.

Had he stayed with the Jets, Adams would easily be the best Jets safety in team history, bar none. Despite only playing three seasons, one could possibly argue that he still is the best safety in team history.

Nonetheless, fans will always have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to Adams, but it's impossible to deny his ability to impact games.