Despite the deal not being fully complete, the New York Jets have already won the Jamal Adams trade.
After the 2019 season, Adams initially wanted a long-term deal from the Jets, but the relationship quickly soured and he wanted out. Right before the green and white opened training camp for the 2020 season they shipped their mercurial star to the Seattle Seahawks in a blockbuster deal.
Gang Green received two first-round draft choices (one in 2021, another in 2022) along with a third-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft, they also received veteran safety, Bradley McDougald. While Seattle got the former All-Pro safety and a fourth-round pick in 2022.
Two of the picks the Jets got from that deal they traded to the Minnesota Vikings to move up from 23 to 14 in the first round. With that selection, the Jets snagged versatile interior offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC.
Joe Douglas and the Jets still have another first-rounder in 2022 as part of the package, but it doesn’t even matter what that turns into because they’ve already won the deal.
Positional value was maximized
In some bizarro world where the Jets would’ve kept Jamal Adams, they would’ve had to make him the highest-paid safety in football.
Right now Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons holds that crown with a yearly average of $15.25M, per Over The Cap. That in itself is a large number, but Jamal wanted more than that.
According to some reports, Adams was seeking a deal that would not only make him the highest-paid safety in football but one of the “top paid defensive players in the NFL”.
Jamal Adams’ future contract demands loom large in trade talks. If he wants pay among top defensive players – which one source whose team has looked into Adams believes – that’s well above $20M per year, while safety market is below $15M. Tough for a SS, no matter how good.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 19, 2020
If he would’ve received that contract, he would’ve been responsible for over nine percent of the entire cap for the team in 2021.
Joe Douglas saw the writing on the wall and decided to reallocate those resources, especially when the Seahawks called with that monster offer. It was the perfect get-out-of-jail-free card for the Jets.
Recapping Jamal Adams in 2020 with the Seahawks
Let’s take a quick deep dive into Adams’ first season with Seattle last year.
Adams missed four games due to a rash of injuries he battled throughout the year. Despite that, he set the single-season sack record for a defensive back with 9.5 (breaking the record originally set by Arizona Cardinals great Adrian Wilson).
By many respects, he had the best year of his professional career: career-high in sacks (9.5), quarterback hits (14), and tackles for loss (11). Do you know how that translated to team success?
They were one-and-done in the playoffs after a 30-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in a game that wasn’t as close as the scoreboard indicated.
So what’s the point?
As great as Adams played last year, and he was terrific, the team still didn’t get over the top. When you make a trade like Seattle did last year, that’s the kind of move you make to put your team over the top. If that was the goal, they failed.
Although the Jets winning this deal had nothing to do with what Jamal did over in Seattle last season. It’s about what they did in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Instead of paying Adams a ridiculous amount of money at a non-premium position, they used the draft picks to protect their franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson out of BYU.
“He’s going to be an All-Pro guard,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Alijah Vera-Tucker via ESPN. “He’s just one of the cleanest, safest picks in the whole draft.”
If Vera-Tucker lives up to the hype, this trade was a home run for the Jets. Quite frankly, even the mentality by Douglas already makes this a raging success.
If you have a really good safety, great; if you have a really bad safety, okay not the end of the world. If you have a bad offensive line, that will start a chain reaction of horrible things.
Your running game is affected. Your quarterback’s development and growth are stunted. Nobody knows this more than general manager Joe Douglas, a former offensive lineman.
A year ago the Jets were the laughing stock of the league, now they seem destined to turn this thing around in 2021.