Written by Chris Kubala
It was a rough back half of the decade for the New York Jets, who struggled overall in the 2010s. The team finished with just one season with a better than .500 record from 2011 through 2019, which came when they went 10-6 in 2015 under Todd Bowles. Despite that, the team still missed the playoffs: in fact, the team failed to make the postseason in any of the last nine seasons. Last season, the team struggled out of the gate, blowing a 16-0 third quarter lead in a 17-16 home loss to Buffalo in the season opener. That set the tone for a 1-7 start with Sam Darnold missing three games with mono, forcing the Jets to turn to Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk as their starting quarterback. New York won six of their final eight to close the year but it left them 7-9 and out of the postseason hunt.
One of the Jets’ top players last year was safety Jamal Adams, who earned his second straight Pro Bowl appearance and his first First Team All-Pro nod after recording 75 tackles (61 solo), along with 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, seven pass defenses, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a pair of defensive scores. He looked to be an anchor of a Jets’ defense that was strong in the second half of the season. Instead, it sounds like he’s ready to leave the Big Apple for a new destination if he gets his way.
According to Ian Rapoport, the talented Adams formally requested a trade on Thursday, as he seems prepared to move on from the organization that selected him in the first round with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. There has been an ongoing rift between Adams and the franchise over his next contract. Adams feels that he deserves an extension already at this point, while the Jets see no reason to give into those demands with him playing the fourth year of his rookie deal. New York already picked up his fifth-year option, keeping him under contract with the team through 2021 at this point.
Adams has declared publicly that he has yet to receive a contract offer that was promised to him back in January and accused the Jets of being “a lot of talk and no action.” Meanwhile, the team says that they want to make Adams a “Jet for life” but have been slow-playing things since they hold the leverage of having Adams under contract for two more seasons at this stage. Adams expects some big money from the Jets in an extension as reports have swirled about that he is looking for upwards of $20 million a season in his extension. Should the Jets not want to make a deal and trade him, Adams is willing to play out his contract and prove his worth, either to his new team, or to ramp up his profile in free agency going into 2022. That’s some big money seeing that the highest-paid safety in the league right now is Chicago’s Eddie Jackson, who makes $14.6 million a year.
Adams has a list of seven teams that he would be happy with being dealt to one of seven teams. That group includes the Ravens, Seahawks, 49ers, Cowboys, Eagles, Texans and Chiefs. There aren’t many surprises in that list as the Chiefs and 49ers were the Super Bowl combatants last year. Houston, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia all made the postseason, leaving Dallas as the lone team in the group to miss. Of course, the Cowboys have been linked to Adams in deals going back to the trade deadline last year. At that point, Joe Douglas, the GM of the Jets, was looking for a first-round pick along with a pair of seconds.
It’s clear that the rift between Adams and the organization has continued to widen over the past several months. When the Jets shopped him last season, it set things in motion as Adams felt he was untouchable. He quickly learned the harsh lesson that there is no such thing as untouchable when it comes to professional sports. The fact that he has played at a high level and that there are other first-round picks that are in line for big extensions this year is merely going to entrench Adams’ thought process. Christian McCaffrey already signed a big extension from that 2017 class, while Myles Garrett along with Patrick Mahomes are both expected to ink their own deals later this summer. That means the precedent for such a deal is there.
Will the Jets budge on the matter and meet Adams’ demands? Could Adams force the team’s hand or will he eventually come back to the team, sulking and become a distraction? There’s a lot at stake for both sides here and how this plays out could really make or break Joe Douglas and Adam Gase as the GM/coach combination of the franchise.