Mark Schlereth on Jets playing hardball with Jamal Adams: 'The rest of the players see that'

Seth Everett

The New York Jets are between a rock and a hard place regarding safety Jamal Adams, but general manager Joe Douglas is not without options. What he chooses to do, could have more than just an impact on Adams and the Jets secondary. This decision could have a major impact on the young players in the Jets locker room.

Of course, Douglas could give in to Adams’ requests for a trade, losing a player that could help right now for picks and hope for the future. He could tell Adams that he is under contract for two more years, and possibly more if the Jets choose to use the franchise tag, and deal with whatever ramifications stem from it. Or, he could offer Adams a long-term deal that makes him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL, essentially making him a “Jet for life.”

Former NFL lineman and current FOX Sports analyst Mark Schlereth says they need to pay him. Not just because Adams has outperformed his contract. Schlereth thinks that if you ignore his request and just make him play out his rookie contract he would be sending a poor message to the locker room.

“The rest of the players see that,” Schlereth said in an exclusive interview with ‘Jets Country’ contributor Seth Everett. “They are like, ‘I'm here, I'm working hard.’ What does it become like with (Mekhi) Becton, your first-round draft pick? What if he is there for two years and then been to two Pro Bowls and is an All-Pro? I'm one of the best-left tackles in football. And the precedent you sent was, yeah, don't even talk to us right now.’”

ESPN reported last week that Adams had a list of seven teams that he would “welcome a trade to.” His hometown team the Dallas Cowboys were on that list, as were the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks. Recently, an ESPN report said that Adams wants to be a Cowboy so badly, he would welcome it and not demand a new contract like he has been saying in New York.

Schlereth also discussed the pressure the Jets head coach Adam Gase is under. Considering that this upcoming season has higher expectations, Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can’t afford to have a gaping hole in the secondary because of a contract dispute back in June.

During the conversation, Schlereth noted that players have resorted to some awkward antics when they have issues with their contracts. He tells the story of calling the game between the Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals when Seahawks Earl Thomas broke his leg after Seattle refused to do his deal. Thomas was screaming towards the Seattle sideline then, and the image has stuck with Schlereth.

“I play all out,” he said. “I put it on the line for you guys. I risk it all. I want to get paid. I want to be paid.”

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