Jamal Adams and the New York Jets have reached an impasse in contract negotiations. That doesn’t mean Jamal is leaving anytime soon.
Round and round the rumor mill goes. Yet again, the New York Jets and star safety Jamal Adams find themselves at the center of the national media’s attention. This comes after NFL insider Gary Myers reported that the Jets and the face of their franchise are at an impasse in contract negotiations.
Sources told me today Jets have given no indication will sign All-Pro S Jamal Adams to new contract in offseason. Want to wait to make decision. He wants contract now. Stalemate has caused friction & sources said trade very possible. It's expected half the teams will call Jets.
— Gary Myers (@GaryMyersNY) May 21, 2020
This isn’t the first time a major New York sports star has ended up in a contract dispute or trade rumors. Every major New York star has gone through this at some point.
David Wright was on the verge of leaving the New York Mets in free agency at one point. The New York Yankees were going to let Derek Jeter walk and shift Alex Rodriguez to shortstop. Carmelo Anthony was going to leave the New York Knicks for the Chicago Bulls.
The scenario that most closely mirrors Adams’ situation is that of New York Jets legend Darelle Revis. The future Hall of Fame cornerback was vocal with the media about his contract situations. He held out and even demanded a trade at one point according to some reports. Revis eventually signed a long-term contract with the Jets.
This is New York, the land of the media circus. There is no negotiation with a star player that doesn’t face the scrutiny of the media. Jamal Adams was never going to be any different.
The contract impasse
After Myers’ initial report, a flood of reports from New York Jets beat writers came after. They all have a similar tone. The Jets have no issue making him the highest-paid safety in the league, it’s about when they want to extend him.
Jamal Adams wants his money now. He believes after making back-to-back All-Pro teams he’s earned that money and he has a point. Adams is clearly the best safety in football and he’s getting paid just over $3 million in 2019. That doesn’t make sense from a value standpoint for him.
The issue for him is that the Jets hold all the cards. They have Adams under contract for two more seasons and have the right to use the franchise tag to control him for a third. They have no reason to rush into an extension and remove the last year where Jamal’s value is among the best in the league.
Few teams extend any players after just their third year. Only 16 of the last 223 first-round picks have been extended prior to their fourth season. Among those who haven’t, Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald. If the two best defensive players in football couldn’t get an extension that soon why should Adams?
The first thought that comes to mind when an impasse comes about is a holdout. Revis held out to great effect and Le’Veon Bell held out for an entire season. Adams won’t get that opportunity.
The newest CBA makes it incredibly difficult for players to hold out. While most of the new additions to the CBA only affect those on veteran contracts, there is one rule that makes it nearly impossible for Adams to miss time. The fines for missing practices are now mandatory and significantly higher.
The previous fine for missing a day of training camp was $40,000. Teams could wipe that away once the player reported under the old CBA, that’s not the case anymore. Players will now be forced to pay that money in fines according to the new rules.
The actual number for fines was never revealed, so let’s use $60,000 as a baseline. If Adams holds out for just two weeks he’ll lose $840,000. That’s nearly a third of Adams’ contract value.
Considering training camp lasts about two months, Adams could lose nearly his entire salary if he chooses not to attend training camp. That just doesn’t seem likely.
Could he be traded?
Jamal Adams can’t hold out and the Jets have no reason to extend him this season. That leaves one option for Adams, demand a trade. The only way he’s getting paid now is if someone else does it.
Some reporters are already gearing up for a potential trade. Myers, who broke the story, is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys are in play as they’ve confirmed that the Jets are looking for a first-round pick and a third-round pick in exchange. Michael Irvin of NFL Network has heard the same.
There’s a trend here. Gary Myers is a former Cowboys beat reporter and Irvin used to play for the Cowboys. It’s very possible that they’re getting their info from the Cowboys side and not the Jets and Jamal Adams.
That seems like a likely conclusion given that every Jets beat reporter who’s written on the subject has an opposite take. Richi Cimini of ESPN first reported that the Jets and Adams had talked about a potential trade. Even his report says that the talks didn’t go far and a trade is unlikely.
Ralph Vacchiano of SNY and Connor Hughes of The Athletic take it a step further. Both say the Jets have absolutely no intention of trading Adams. Vacchiano’s sources say the team hasn’t taken any trade calls on Adams since the 2019 trade deadline. Hughes’ sources said a trade isn’t likely to happen, but even if it did, the Jets asking price would start at a first-round pick and two second-round picks. That’s a far cry from the first and third that Myers and Irvin are reporting.
It’s hard to parse what’s real and what’s not out of this, but general manager Joe Douglas has been firm on this question whenever asked. He wants Jamal Adams to be a “Jet for life.” That’s been his stance since he walked through the door. Things could change in the future, but until they do, that’s likely going to be the final word.
What’s likely to happen
If Adams won’t get a new deal, can’t hold out, and won’t get traded, what is he to do? There’s nothing he can do except try to create leverage where there is none. That’s why there are media reports about how unhappy he is.
If he can get the media and the fans on his side, then he can try to pressure the Jets into overplaying their hand. That’s not likely to work on Joe Douglas, but it’s the only move Adams has left.
This isn’t going to be the last time this contract issue comes up. It’ll play out through the rest of the 2020 offseason and into the regular season, but eventually the Jets will get a deal done with Adams.
This was never about the money. Reports from nearly every source say the Jets have no problem making Adams the league’s highest-paid safety. This is about timing and why the Jets have no reason to extend Jamal Adams before the season starts.
Come this time a year from now the most likely scenario is Jamal Adams has a brand new long-term contract with the Jets. The only one who can change that is Joe Douglas. He has all the leverage here, and there’s nothing Adams can do about it.