Early in the offseason, it was thought that Marcus Maye was the odd man out and potentially trade bait for the still rebuilding New York Jets. Now after fellow safety Jamal Adams was traded three weeks ago to the Seattle Seahawks, Maye is the incumbent safety.
And with many new teammates in the defensive secondary, he is ready to become a defensive leader.
“I'm a guy that shows up every day to work,” Maye said to reporters Thursday in a Zoom call. “I put my head down and do it for the team. Obviously, a lot of guys have to step up and I'm excited for it. Just to continue to do my role and play my role and just have a bigger part of it.”
Adams had a very public feud with the Jets in the weeks leading up to the trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Just a day before the trade was executed, Adams made very public comments about head coach Adam Gase and the way the Jets failed in negotiations.
“It was a lot of stuff going on with him and me just being a friend with him I would listen to him just in his corner. Obviously we in two different situations. Whatever he was going on with their situation and I was just there to listen to him and just be there for him,” Maye said.
“But at the end of the day, we're both wearing two different situations. With the trade and everything, obviously, we all wish him the best of luck. You still gonna be there for us off the field but the only thing we can do is worry about our current roster.”
Maye is heading into the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. Last season, Jets general manager Joe Douglas reportedly explored trade options for Maye but nothing materialized. Once the guaranteed money portion of his contract had been paid, the proverbial thought was that Maye could be cut to save money.
Maye was the only Jets player in 2019 to log more than 1,000 scrimmage plays on offense or defense. Including special teams, he was on the field for 1,127 total snaps.
So with Adams, an All-Pro last year traded and C.J. Mosley opting out, the defense is lacking star power. Maye said that it doesn’t matter who is gone but rather who is still left on the defense.
"It's the same Jets defense you're going to get — a ton of energy, the same aggressiveness. We're not going to change how we're going to go about things at all," Maye said. "We've still got the same defensive coordinator, the same position coaches. How we go is how we go. Those guys are not here but we're not going to change anything about us."