Marcus Maye believes he didn't get what he deserved in contractual negotiations this offseason. Reporting to training camp, however, his focus has returned to playing football and helping his team win games.
The safety will play his fifth season with the Jets in 2021 under the franchise tag before entering free agency next year.
Maye and the Jets tried to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, something that was said to be an offseason priority for Gang Green, but both sides couldn't meet in the middle before this month's deadline.
"I was hoping to get things done and get settled. But obviously, we didn't get to that point," Maye said Saturday.
Maye added that he wasn't happy or satisfied with the way those conversations went in the offseason. The frustration from that process certainly stuck with the safety, a player that has repeatedly made it clear that he would love to remain within this organization going forward.
Now, above all else, he hopes to play for a team that wants him around.
"Wherever I'm welcome," he said. "I was drafted here. I'd love to be here."
That said, there's a good chance that after trading away Jamal Adams, New York will eventually part ways with Maye as well, stripping their secondary down to the youngsters this organization is attempting to develop.
New York could look to trade Maye, attempting to recoup some value before he walks on the open market. Alternatively, the Jets could also use the franchise tag on the safety for a second time, something Maye said he isn't concerning himself with just yet.
"I've got 17 weeks to be the best that I can be and once we get to that point, we'll cross that line again," he said.
Maye blossomed in 2020, racking up 88 tackles with two sacks, four tackles for loss and 11 passes defended. He solidified his role as not just a leader of the defense, but of the team as a whole.
Posting those numbers, maturing through his fourth season in the pros, Maye confidently stated that he belongs in the conversation with the best safeties in the game. Whether the Jets hold him to that same value remains to be seen.
"I'm not in their meetings," Maye said. "So I don't know what's being said. I mean, I'm only evaluated on the football field and what I do, I do that to the best of my ability. I feel like I do it pretty well."
Perhaps New York changes its stance, finding a way to keep the safety around, especially after Robert Saleh and this new coaching staff gets a chance to work with him for the rest of this season.
"Marcus has been impressive," the head coach said on Friday. "Didn’t get a chance to talk to him much during OTAs and didn’t get a chance to talk to him during the summer, but having the interaction now and being able to talk to him he’s a tremendous young man. Really looking forward to working with him, he is talented."
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