Another day, another twist and turn in what is now becoming a saga for the New York Jets when it comes to re-signing safety Jamal Adams.
On Friday, seemingly out of nowhere, Adams posted on social media about the breaking news that the Cleveland Browns reportedly were closing in on an extension for defensive end Myles Garrett. While offering congratulations, Adams then dropped a couple of bombs including that the Jets haven’t made him a contract offer yet despite having said they would extend one in January. Adams also claimed in his tweet that he was called “selfish” but it is unclear if he’s saying that the Jets as an organization or if external voices such as the media or fans were hitting him with that label.
The fact that Adams aired this publicly is not necessarily a good look for the Jets if what the All-Pro safety is claiming is true. And it really isn’t good on Adams either to be putting this out on social media in what can only create division between the player and the team.
The tweet on Friday by Adams interrupted a bit of a lull in the back-and-forth about his future with the team.
Adams is entering the fourth year of his five-year rookie deal and could still be hit with the franchise tag should the Jets not be ready to enter into a long-term deal with their only Pro Bowl selection last season. He has made it clear that he wants to be paid as the top safety in the league and Jets general manager Joe Douglas said at the NFL Combine in February that he hopes to sign the player to a long-term deal.
Former NFL general manager Randy Mueller thinks the asking price of being the top-paid safety in the NFL might cause the Jets to slow play a contract.
“Adams is not going to sign any long term deal for less than$ 15 million a year -Eddie Jackson is the highest at $14.6 million, Mueller told SportsIllustrated.com.
“That’s going to be hard for the Jets to swallow for a safety. They have him for this year and I probably wouldn't open up that can until 2020 is in the rear view mirror. They can weigh the dollars against what that money could buy them in free agency next year, when next year gets here.”
Mueller is a veteran league executive, having been general manager of the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. Recently, he spent a decade as vice president of football operations for the San Diego Chargers until 2018.
The dilemma for the Jets when it comes to Adams is serious.
He’s not only the team’s best player – by a mile – he is a legitimate star and fan favorite who gravitates towards the spotlight in a market that loves his style. Given his high-level of play, it is a no-brainer that the Jets would want to keep the game’s top safety and one of the best (if not the best) defensive players in the league. He’s an elite talent.
It begins to get sticky, though, considering where the Jets are in their rebuild. As things stand, they are a year away from competing for the AFC East and the playoffs with a roster that is still very much going through an overhaul.
The Jets must now weigh the eliteness of Adams and his impact at the safety position versus their multiple needs on both sides of the ball. Committing $15 million to a safety is one issue. Knowing and understanding that they can net a first round pick and possibly a third round pick in a trade raises the stakes even higher.
The Jets could well push their rebuild into fast forward by not committing top dollars to a safety while netting multiple picks that can address more glaring needs. That money could well go towards higher-end needs at defensive end, along the offensive line and securing quarterback Sam Darnold long-term. After all, Adams’ backend teammate, Marcus Maye, is a fantastic safety in his own right and the Jets used a third round pick on Ashtyn Davis who projects to be a starter sooner rather than later. They might be set at safety with or without Adams.
Maye and Davis might well be the Jets starting safeties of the future if an extension with Adams seems unreachable.
“If they still have multiple holes and his money allows them to fill them, then its going to be tough to re-sign him,” Mueller said. “Then perhaps a decision gets made. I think they may just "kick the can" down the road until then.”