The Jets have no intention of trading Jamal Adams despite their latest impasse in contract negotiations, according to a source. And they expect that they will eventually sign him to a lucrative contract that, as promised, will make him a "Jet for life."
That has long been the plan, as both CEO Christopher Johnson and GM Joe Douglas have repeatedly said, and nothing has changed even though Adams' camp has grown frustrated with the pace of recent talks. As Douglas promised, he reached out to Adams' agents shortly after the draft for initial discussions about a contract. But the Jets' position is they want to wait before giving him a long-term extension.
Adams, who is entering the fourth year of his four-year, $22.2 million rookie contract, wants his money now.
As a result, there were reports that the possibility of a trade came up in the talks between the two sides last week. Even if it did, a source said the Jets have not had any meaningful discussions about trading their 24-year-old star since the trading deadline last October when the Jets had seemingly serious discussions with the Dallas Cowboys and many other teams called.
Whether the Jets ever revisit those talks may depend on what Adams does next. He's already refusing to participate in the Jets' "virtual" offseason program, which is voluntary. It's not known whether he plans an actual holdout whenever NFL training camps begin.
From the Jets perspective, though, that won't matter in the contract talks because they hold all the leverage. Adams, who is due to make about $3.5 million this year, is signed through 2021 now that the Jets have picked up his "fifth-year option" at a cost of $9.86 million. And they have the option of using the franchise tag on him once, and possibly twice, beyond that.
They don't expect it to get that far, though. They know Adams wants to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL, which means a deal in excess of the $14.6 million per year the Chicago Bears are paying Eddie Jackson, and they are expecting to pay him eventually. In fact, this impasse isn't at all about money, since financial parameters of a deal apparently haven't even been discussed yet..
This is all about timing. The Jets just don't want to do an extension now. The leverage they have is one reason, but so is the current global pandemic. No one is sure what a return to football will look like, whether there will be fans in the stands and what it will mean for league revenue and future salary caps. Douglas has preached about financial flexibility and fiscal responsibility as he's rebuilt the Jets this offseason. Giving Adams a deal worth $15 million per year or more in excess of $40 million guaranteed while not knowing the full effects of the pandemic on revenues could undo all that he's done.
It's also worth noting that, while first-round picks are allowed to negotiate contract extensions after their third seasons, most don't get one that quickly. Since 2011, only 16 of 233 first-round picks have gotten an extension before their fourth year in the NFL. The list of players that didn't includes many defensive stars, such as Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Donald, whom Adams notably compared himself to in October when he was angry that the Jets had listened to trade offers from other teams.
Adams, though, believes that after making two Pro Bowls and two all-pro teams in his first three NFL seasons, he should be one of the exceptions -- like how the Panthers just gave running back Christian McCaffrey a four-year, $64 million extension after his third year in the league. McCaffrey was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, two spots after the Jets took Adams. And he plays a much more physically dangerous position.
But without much leverage, and with no indication the Jets will change their mind on the timing of his next contract, it's unclear what Adams will do next. He could request a trade, though the Jets likely wouldn't grant it. He could also hold out from training camp, though eventually he'd have to give in and show up if he wants to get paid.
From the Jets' perspective, though, nothing has changed, nor will it. They know Adams will eventually get the pay day he is seeking, and they fully expect that when it happens, they'll be the ones writing the very large checks.