Written by Chris Kubala
In 2019, it was a rough year for the New York Jets. The team saw Sam Darnold miss three games with mononucleosis and only an early bye week kept him from missing at least one more game. New York’s offense was a train wreck without him as Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk combined to help the team score a total of 23 points in those contests. The Jets began the year 0-4 and were 1-7 at the halfway point of the year before finally getting things together in the second half of the season. A 6-2 finish got New York to 7-9 though the offense remained putrid, ranking 31st in scoring offense, 32nd in total offense, 29th in passing offense and 31st in rushing offense on the year.
That means that the defense had to carry more than its fair share of the load. While they were 16th in scoring defense, seventh in total defense and second against the run last season, there was simply too big of a hole to dig out of for the team. New York did outpace their Pythagorean projected mark of 5.6 wins, they were still well outside the playoff picture. However, there are storm clouds hovering over that potential bright spot in the atmosphere of the Big Apple.
Arguably one of, if not the, cornerstone of the Jets’ defense a season ago, safety Jamal Adams has become increasingly disgruntled over the way his contract has been handled by the team. He racked up 75 tackles (61 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 13 QB hits, seven pass defenses, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year. In addition, Adams had an interception and a fumble recovery, both of which he returned for scores. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl twice and was a First Team All-Pro selection last season for his efforts. Last season, the Cowboys were interested in acquiring him at the trade deadline but inevitably, a deal couldn’t be worked out.
Now, reports out of the organization say that there is some serious discord between the player and the team at this stage of the game. Adams is still under contract for two more years as the Jets picked up his fifth-year option for the 2021 season last month. That means the team would pay him $3.5 million this season and $9.9 million in 2021. Should the team and player not hammer out a deal by that point and he’s still on the team, New York could turn around and slap the franchise tag on him for the 2022 season.
As it stands, the Jets have little to no interest in dealing Adams, despite a report from Gary Myers about how the Cowboys are interested and learned that the asking price is a first and a third-round pick. The team doesn’t want to turn around and hand out an extension with so much leverage, seeing how 16 of 223 first-round picks dating back to 2011 have received an extension after three years. That number may change going forward but when you’re looking at one of 14, the odds aren’t that great. Adams, on the other hand, feels that he is worth a deal that would make him the highest-paid safety in the league. That honor currently belongs to Chicago’s Eddie Jackson, who is hauling in $14.6 million this season.
Jets GM Joe Douglas has said that he wants to make Adams “a Jet for life.” On the other hand, Adams wants to be recognized and paid in accordance with his performance to this point of his career. He’s a lot like Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire and is telling the Jets to show him the money. How things unfold over the coming weeks could really flip the script for any momentum the Jets have in their efforts to try and reach the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season when Rex Ryan was still the coach. We’ll have to see how things transpire between the team and the Pro Bowl safety.