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Will Jamal Adams get record-setting deal from Jets? It's complicated

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RICH CIMINIESPN Staff Writer 6:00 AM ET8 Minute Read

Jamal Adams has made his wishes clear: He expects a contract extension this offseason. The New York Jets' best homegrown talent since Darrelle Revis, the star safety wants them to show him the money -- a lot of money -- before he steps foot on the field in 2020.

And so begins one of the juiciest storylines of the Jets' offseason.

Adams said last week the two sides have engaged in "small discussions," although it should be noted the Jets have to yet to take a public stance. They haven't ruled it out, but they haven't expressed interest. There's no sense of urgency to extend Adams' current contract because they have rights to him for two more seasons, plus there's the option of the franchise tag in 2022.

There are several layers to this story, largely because of the trading-deadline drama that caused a temporary rift between Adams and his bosses. The fireworks might not be over because the Jets are in no rush and Adams wants to reset the safety market, pronto.

Here's a closer look at the key issues:

Has Adams outperformed his rookie contract?

Let's put it this way: Adams and Eddie Jackson of the Chicago Bears are the only safeties who can boast two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection over the past two seasons. So the answer to this question is yes.

Adams, 24, is scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2020, the final year of a four-year contract that averages $5.6 million annually -- 23rd among safeties, per overthecap.com (laughable). As the No. 6 overall pick in 2017, his entire contract was fully guaranteed -- $22.3 million, which ranks fifth at his position (respectable).

Either way, it's still below market for a player of his caliber.

If the Jets opt to kick the can down the road, they can secure his 2021 rights by exercising the fifth-year option in early May -- a no-brainer that would cost a projected $9.9 million in '21 salary. That would be guaranteed for injury only; it wouldn't become fully guaranteed until March 2021.

If this drags out until 2022 -- highly unlikely -- the Jets could use the franchise tag. The amount will be north of $12.7 million, the projected franchise-tag tender for 2020 at the safety position. By 2022, it could be over $14 million, based on increases in the salary cap (assuming there's a collective bargaining agreement for 2022).

If the Jets want to play hardball at the negotiating table, they could threaten to do nothing and say they will pay Adams at fixed prices for the next three years -- roughly $27.4 million in total. That wouldn't be good-faith bargaining and it would infuriate the Adams camp, likely resulting in a trade request.

Should Adams be the highest-paid safety?

We know where Adams stands on this; he has said numerous times he is the NFL's best safety. You can bet your mortgage he's looking to overtake Jackson, whose $14.6 million average per year is No. 1 at the position. Other comps are the Tennessee Titans' Kevin Byard ($14.1 million) and the Washington Redskins' Landon Collins ($14 million), both of whom signed before the 2019 season.

"If the Jets think Adams is better than Collins, then good-faith negotiations will be above his deal," said former agent Joel Corry, a contract and salary-cap expert for CBS Sports. "Topping the [Jackson] deal should be Adams' goal."

Jason Fitzgerald, a contract and cap expert and founder of overthecap.com, believes Adams should aim higher than Jackson. The target, he said, should be middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, who's the highest-paid player on the Jets ($17 million average annual salary). Fitzgerald's reasoning is based on what team officials have said about Adams, whom Jets coach Adam Gase has called the "heart and soul of the defense."

"Last year, they wanted C.J. Mosley to be the best player on the defense and they paid him $17 million a year -- about $2 million or so above the going rate," Fitzgerald said. "You can make a legitimate comparison for Adams. If he's the star of the show, he should be getting a big premium like that over the highest-paid safety. I'd probably be asking for like $18 million. To make everything happy in his world, you'd probably have to come in right over Mosley at $17.1 million."

Mosley received a franchise-record $43 million guaranteed at signing, but there's no way the Jets will go that high for Adams. Among the safeties, the top guarantee on a second contract belongs to Collins ($31 million), per overthecap.com.

It's not apples to apples, though, and that's where it gets tricky. Collins and Mosley were unrestricted free agents and the subjects of bidding wars. Adams is under team control for at least two more years, which reduces his leverage. This point cannot be overstated.

Is a strong safety really worth that kind of money?

History tells us prolific interceptors are the first to get the big bucks because NFL general managers often fall for gaudy stats. Adams has two career interceptions, but he does have intrinsic value to the Jets and much of that value was created by the team.

General manager Joe Douglas, who listened to offers from the Dallas Cowboys at the NFL trade deadline in October, made it clear it would have taken a blockbuster package for them to have traded Adams. One report said the Jets were demanding a first-round pick and two second-rounders. Another report said the Jets asked for Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin.

"It's kind of contradictory to want something great to make a trade, then balk at paying top safety money," Corry said.

Fitzgerald echoed that sentiment, saying, "There's no way to say he's not tippy-top of the market because you've already put him in the category of all the other superstar players."

You can bet Adams' reps will use this at the bargaining table.

As for his middling production as a ball hawk, it has to be a discussion point because great safeties are known for interceptions. The Pro Football Hall of Fame includes five safeties who played their entire career in the Super Bowl era, and their average is 49 interceptions per player. Of Adams' peers, Byard has 17, Jackson 10 and Collins eight.

No doubt, Adams' reps will counter by saying he plays a hybrid position, reducing his chances to make interceptions. In some ways, he's like a "monster" back, roaming near the line of scrimmage. His biggest plays last season came as a pass-rusher (6.5 sacks). In fact, he rushed the passer on 93 plays, the second-highest total among defensive backs, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams tweaked Adams' role, using him more as a "box" safety than the previous coaching staff. He lined up in the box on 41% of his snaps, up from 39% in 2018. His free safety snaps went up, too -- from 45% to 42%. The big difference under Williams: Adams was used less in man-to-man coverage situations -- 14% in the slot/cornerback, down from 19%.

In terms of role, Adams is much closer to Collins than to Jackson and Byard. As long as he is deployed in this manner, he probably never will have big interception numbers. Fitzgerald, for one, believes that shouldn't affect his market value.

Bottom line: Adams is dynamic in what he is asked to do. "An absolute stud," Douglas said.

What's the benefit to extending Adams this offseason?

For one thing, perception. The Jets have a lousy track record when it comes to re-upping with their first-round picks, most of whom washed out and didn't deserve a second contract. Adams is rare in that he actually has lived up to expectations. An extension would send a message to the locker room that players who perform will be rewarded.

It also would keep the Jets' best player happy. There are those who believe he will complain and publicly pressure the Jets if he doesn't get a new deal. That would reignite trade speculation when the draft approaches.

"The Jets came out of the whole trade thing with such egg on their face," Fitzgerald said, alluding to October's deadline fallout. "From a PR standpoint, you almost feel like you have to do this deal just to get it out of the way and stop it from being a distraction."

Corry offered a practical reason for extending him now.

"It usually is more costly to delay signing a Pro Bowl-caliber player," he said. "The price is only going to go up if Adams plays another year on his rookie contract."

It behooves both sides to wait until the NFL free-agency dust settles before engaging in serious talks. The Denver Broncos' Justin Simmons and the Minnesota Vikings' Anthony Harris are expected to land big deals that could alter the safety market, which could help Adams.

At the same time, Adams isn't priority No. 1 for the Jets, who must spend their cap money to address actual needs. Maybe, after free agency and the draft, they will move the Adams contract to the front burner.

But that's hardly a guarantee.

So will Adams get a new deal or not?

Opinions are all over the map. One prominent agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he doesn't expect an extension in 2020. While acknowledging that Adams is "grossly underpaid," the agent said the star player has "no leverage" because he is under team control through 2021. For that reason, he said, a training-camp holdout would be ill-advised.

"The Jets want it on their terms," the agent said. "I don't think the Jets will offer a deal that Jamal will accept."

Fitzgerald believes an extension can be reached at some point in March. Corry didn't sound optimistic: "Most first-round picks don't get new deals after three seasons."

Under the current CBA, 15 of 191 first-round picks from 2011 through 2016 received extensions after their third season. That 15 includes only four defensive players -- defensive linemen J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn, linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Patrick Peterson. All-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald didn't get a new deal until after his fourth season.

Adams might have to wait, which won't make him happy.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.espn.com/blog/new-york-jets/post/_/id/82343/will-jamal-adams-get-record-setting-deal-from-jets-its-complicated%3fplatform=amp

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Just now, BROOKLYN JET said:

Gonna make Revis look like a saint.

Darrelle Revis was an all-time great NY Jets player. 

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1 minute ago, BROOKLYN JET said:

Gonna make Revis look like a saint.

FUGGGG THAT! 17 million per year!? My god.

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5 minutes ago, CTM said:

Adams is going to squander whatever goodwill he has with fans as part of this.

Looking forward to it frankly

Let Him Rot!

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It comes down if he wants to be a leader and get paid well but not the highest paid... or if he just wants top dollar.  Almost every team is willing to work with their core players... but the rub comes when both sides lose faith in the negotiating.  The deals like Mosley got where some stupid GM runs up the position payscale by overpaying are rare.  But I can almost kiss Macc for that... because ____ NFL owners.

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30 minutes ago, BROOKLYN JET said:

It's kind of contradictory to want something great to make a trade, then balk at paying top safety money," Corry said.

Fitzgerald echoed that sentiment, saying, "There's no way to say he's not tippy-top of the market because you've already put him in the category of all the other superstar players."

You can bet Adams' reps will use this at the bargaining table.

Not true at all tbh. You can ask for gold and know it’s not real when you’re flipping it. Every good GM asks for more than what they’re willing to pay.

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Adams is a great player and should be on the Jets for a long time.  He should replace Mosley as the high paid player in the middle of the defense.  

As a high first round draft pick, Adams received over $20mm in guaranties over 4 years, subject to a fifth year option.  That is a lot of guaranteed money for a 21 year old.   Eddie Jackson received a fraction of that, subject to a four year contract.  Adams, as the 6th pick in the 2017 received a very generous 4 year (+1) contract for a kid coming out of college, intended to be binding for four years of service.  

It seems clear to me that, if you want to extend a player and have him play for you for a long time, you can't make them play out their outdated contract that they are clearly outperforming.  But I don't know whether that means extending a first round safety after 3 years.   What non-QBs have been extended after three years?  What QBs have been extended after three years?

Unless JD thought that taking the cap hit this year would moderate the future year hits and make the team better long term, I would be inclined to make Adams play his fourth year at the original contract and extend after that.  If Adams does not like that, there is the fifth year option.  That contract could be the highest paid safety contract next year, which will be more than this year.  That could be ok.   But cap space this year should be focusing on filling holes and supporting Darnold, not increasing Adams 2020 Cap Number from $7mm to $15+mm.   He can get that number when Mosley and Bell are reduced.  

Just my two cents.

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32 minutes ago, pdxgreen said:

It comes down if he wants to be a leader and get paid well but not the highest paid... or if he just wants top dollar.  Almost every team is willing to work with their core players... but the rub comes when both sides lose faith in the negotiating.  The deals like Mosley got where some stupid GM runs up the position payscale by overpaying are rare.  But I can almost kiss Macc for that... because ____ NFL owners.

Except that doesn't _____ NFL owners. It's zero-sum: what's paid to Mosley is an amount not paid to someone else. It doesn't pay him more but everyone else on the team still gets the same or more. There is still a cap limit. They could have paid Mosley $25MM/year and that wouldn't change this reality. 

Even someone who "ruins" the payscale does ruin it. Know why Revis had his heart set on $16MM? Because Al Davis paid $15MM and change to Asomugha when the going rate for a probowl CB was $8-12MM. Why Did Fitz initially demand that same amount as a meh/borderline starter (and still get $12MM as a meh starter)? Because Philadelphia paid $36/2 to Bradford and Cin $96/6 to Dalton (though those 2 at least were still under 30 at the time). 

Paying Enunwa means the Jets 50-50 cut ties with Anderson. And if they do re-sign Anderson it means they don't sign someone else at another position (or they certainly downgrade). The amount the owners pay out doesn't change because of record-setting contracts. It changes because of the CBA that causes the cap ceiling - and particularly, the floor with it - to rise.

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2 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Except that doesn't _____ NFL owners. It's zero-sum: what's paid to Mosley is an amount not paid to someone else. It doesn't pay him more but everyone else on the team still gets the same or more. There is still a cap limit. They could have paid Mosley $25MM/year and that wouldn't change this reality. 

Even someone who "ruins" the payscale does ruin it. Know why Revis had his heart set on $16MM? Because Al Davis paid $15MM and change to Asomugha when the going rate for a probowl CB was $8-12MM. Why Did Fitz initially demand that same amount as a meh/borderline starter (and still get $12MM as a meh starter)? Because Philadelphia paid $36/2 to Bradford and Cin $96/6 to Dalton (though those 2 at least were still under 30 at the time). 

Paying Enunwa means the Jets 50-50 cut ties with Anderson. And if they do re-sign Anderson it means they don't sign someone else at another position (or they certainly downgrade). The amount the owners pay out doesn't change because of record-setting contracts. It changes because of the CBA that causes the cap ceiling - and particularly, the floor with it - to rise.

If it puts them off for even a second or upsets somebody's offseason strategy...that's all I care about.

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The Bears pretty much destroyed whatever leverage the Jets would normally have for doing the Jackson deal a year early.  It's going to be $15MM/year over four years or something like that.  Either here or somewhere else.  Can't say he doesn't deserve it but it would be nice to see this get resolved one way or another without a long, drawn-out press war for a change.

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35 minutes ago, Patriot Killa said:

Not true at all tbh. You can ask for gold and know it’s not real when you’re flipping it. Every good GM asks for more than what they’re willing to pay.

Sure, but that doesn't mean Jamal's camp won't try to use that as part of their PR tactics.  It probably won't convince Douglas, but it could be used to try to win public support to Jamal's side. 

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1 minute ago, nycdan said:

Can't say he doesn't deserve it but it would be nice to see this get resolved one way or another without a long, drawn-out press war for a change.

Strap in!  Because we're headed in that direction regardless.  Unless Douglas trades him early in the offseason, a public slugfest is the only likely direction this goes.  

If Douglas caves early and hands Adams Mosley-money early in the offseason, we'll know our new GM is a dud and that things won't get better for this franchise until the Johnson's die or sell the team.

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2 int in 3 yrs is " middling production"...    find me a starting safety with fewer....

I'd take Harris ina quick minute over Jamal.

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$17-18MM/year for a safety because they paid Mosley so much. Yeesh. Of course I wasn't thrilled with $17MM for a MLB before him in the first place. 

Well, it's settled: they're going to have to find an edge rusher in the draft (and it wouldn't hurt if QW became the best he was drafted to be). If they manage to snag a really good edge rusher the end result/total is the same, even if it's upside-down or backwards in cost. Because there's 2 of these non-premiums getting paid premium veteran salaries on the same roster, they probably additionally need to really hit on a mid/late round (or UDFA) OLman on top of that. And not a Brandon Shell type "hit" -- a borderline or actual probowler. 

They can't buy every position and pay them record-breaking contracts. Darnold on his rookie deal proportionally clears only so much; we can't keep counting the savings on those same dollars two or three times. Blink your eyes and his $9-10MM hits are going to nearly quadruple. 

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Paying ILBs and Box safeties 17 million a year, you cannot make this shi* up.

I love this one "intrinsic value"

The stats also tell the tale, he is not asked to do any of the things that are a problem for safeties like actually covering anyone.

It's going to be fun watching our ilbs chase slot guys and tes down the field from 5 yards behind all next year.

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10 minutes ago, pdxgreen said:

If it puts them off for even a second or upsets somebody's offseason strategy...that's all I care about.

Why would that make you any happier? What is paid to one is not paid to another. The total paid to all the players cumulatively is unchanged; it's the other players that lose money, not the owners. 

Even worse, it's going to bite the Jets in particular yet again after they just did this with Mosley. Really this is all I care about. 

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4 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Why would that make you any happier? What is paid to one is not paid to another. The total paid to all the players cumulatively is unchanged; it's the other players that lose money, not the owners. 

Even worse, it's going to bite the Jets in particular yet again after they just did this with Mosley. Really this is all I care about. 

Yeah.  They dont care enough to release info that pressures the player into signing early or hampers their negotiating position come the FA period.  The owners are completely removed from this discussion because they've never taken anything personally.  Oh.. I am sorry... the team press agents do it for them.

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This is such nonsense. Everyone knows it doesn't have to be the way this article makes it out to be so long as both sides operate in good faith.

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7 hours ago, BROOKLYN JET said:

believes Adams should aim higher than Jackson. The target, he said, should be middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, who's the highest-paid player on the Jets ($17 million average annual salary).

no fucks given idgaf GIF

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I'm not concerned about his ego's need to be the highest paid and nor should the jets be as he is under contract for 2-3 more years. They should extend him to a deal that works for both parties. If he's smart he'll ask for less overall but more guaranteed. That way he can feel secure and not be an anchor on the Jets cap in which case both parties win. This isn't his last contract and lets not forget the Revis experience. 

forget will smith GIF

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1 minute ago, Patriot Killa said:

At least he has a shirt on this time.

Sorry to disappoint you.

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11 hours ago, BROOKLYN JET said:

Jason Fitzgerald, a contract and cap expert and founder of overthecap.com, believes Adams should aim higher than Jackson. The target, he said, should be middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, who's the highest-paid player on the Jets ($17 million average annual salary). Fitzgerald's reasoning is based on what team officials have said about Adams, whom Jets coach Adam Gase has called the "heart and soul of the defense."

"Last year, they wanted C.J. Mosley to be the best player on the defense and they paid him $17 million a year -- about $2 million or so above the going rate," Fitzgerald said. "You can make a legitimate comparison for Adams. If he's the star of the show, he should be getting a big premium like that over the highest-paid safety. I'd probably be asking for like $18 million. To make everything happy in his world, you'd probably have to come in right over Mosley at $17.1 million.

 

Warner Bros Lol GIF by Joker Movie

Boy oh boy.

Imagine thinking this.

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7 minutes ago, Mogglez said:

Warner Bros Lol GIF by Joker Movie

Boy oh boy.

Imagine thinking this.

If leadership skills are making 18 million per year these days, as a Cub Scout, I once led my entire group out of the woods by using nothing but the moss growing on the trunk of a tree.

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3 minutes ago, Patriot Killa said:

If leadership skills are making 18 million per year these days, as a Cub Scout, I once led my entire group out of the woods by using nothing but the moss growing on the trunk of a tree.

LMFAO.

Jason is good people so I'll spare him the ripping, but, man oh man, that is just the most ridiculous thing I've read all week, and I'm a f'ng Mets and Knicks fan 🤣.

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4 hours ago, Embrace the Suck said:

I'm not concerned about his ego's need to be the highest paid and nor should the jets be as he is under contract for 2-3 more years. They should extend him to a deal that works for both parties. If he's smart he'll ask for less overall but more guaranteed. That way he can feel secure and not be an anchor on the Jets cap in which case both parties win. This isn't his last contract and lets not forget the Revis experience. 

 

Yeah, I'm sure the guy who compared himself to Brady and Aaron Donald is going to give the Jets a team-friendly deal.  

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5 hours ago, NYJ1 said:

This is such nonsense. Everyone knows it doesn't have to be the way this article makes it out to be so long as both sides operate in good faith.

Jamal didn't act in good faith at the trade deadline.  He texted Ryan Clark telling him he wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy.  Then he threw a hissy fit when he wasn't traded.

Does that sound like a guy who is about to play nice in negotiations?

Even the most ardent Jamal supporters are going to despise this guy in a few months.  Book it.  @Patriot Killa already came into the light.  Many more will follow.

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About to argue the insanity that is paying Adams Mosley money but then I remembered we game our back up QB like 10 million one season. And can honestly say it's not the worst way to waste money. But terrible move, after the way he acted last season

We got to ship this guy

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