Joe Douglas still wants Jamal Adams to be a Jet For Life.
And most Jets fans want Jamal Adams to be a Jet For Life.
But the $64 million question now is this:
Does Jamal Adams want to be a Jet For Life if the Jets do not show him the money, and show him the money now?
“I’ve made it known that the plan would be for Jamal to be here long term,” Douglas said. “And again, I’ve also made it known that I have to do what’s in the best interests of this team. If other teams call to talk about players, I’ll listen. But heading into this draft, my intent isn’t to move any players. But if a team calls, we’re gonna have conversations.”
Douglas doesn’t need my advice on this, but I’ll give it to him for free anyway:
If somebody makes you an offer you can’t refuse, don’t refuse it.
A first-round pick and a pair of second-rounders, for example.
Sam Darnold is untouchable.
A safety is not.
“I feel quarterback’s the most important position in all of professional sports, and I feel like we have a very good young player in Sam Darnold,” Douglas said. “My opinion on Jamal has been consistent since I arrived here. Jamal’s an unbelievable young player. Again, our plan is to keep Jamal here a long time.”
And you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and the Jets?
Adams’ plan is to become the league’s highest-paid safety, and ASAP, and word leaking out that he won’t participate in the voluntary, virtual OTAs beginning Monday should be viewed as a shot across the green-and-white bow.
“The highlighted word’s ‘voluntary,’ ” Douglas said diplomatically.
Everyone knows that Adams, 24, is a terrific young player. The fiery leader of Gregg Williams’ defense. A dawg who plays with defiance and patience and carries a chip the size of the Empire State Building on his shoulders. If you’re wearing a different jersey, he doesn’t like you. Only two career interceptions? Former Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones has two INTs over five seasons and the Dolphins signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million free-agent deal. Adams did have 6.5 sacks last season and stole the ball from Daniel Jones and took it 25 yards to pay dirt, remember?
Adams has made the case to become the NFL’s highest-paid safety, $15 million per year at the minimum, for however long that would last, leapfrogging Eddie Jackson ($14.6M), Kevin Byard ($14.1M), Tyrann Mathieu and Landon Collins ($14M each).
But here’s the fly in Adams’ ointment: Douglas has contract control over him for 2020 ($3.5 million) and 2021 ($9.9 million for his fifth-year option), and then a potential franchise tag in 2022.
If the plan to keep Adams a Jet For Life remains intact after Thursday night’s virtual NFL draft, Douglas will need to conduct a Zoom meeting with him to get a better read on his mindset.
“The plan is gonna be to connect with Jamal at some point after the draft,” Douglas said.
Adams loves the bright lights and the big stage. You should always want to keep your homegrown stars. You want players who hate to lose more than they love to win. But Douglas needs to find out exactly how sick of losing Adams is. The Jets are 16-32 over his three seasons. A far cry from his glorious LSU days.
Douglas will not be held hostage by a player who is not all-in. If Adams decides he sees no light at the end of the financial tunnel, the last thing Douglas and Adam Gase need is a summer distraction should there be training camp.
In which case, Jet For Life becomes Jet For Strife.
“Nothing’s changed,” Douglas said.
Remember Adams’ tweet at October’s trade deadline?
“The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don’t take calls on Tom Brady. I hold myself in high regard. That’s how I look at myself.”
That’s part of what makes him a great player. But it’s not how Joe Douglas looks at him. And shouldn’t be.
“I haven’t had any conversations recently with Jamal. I will say that our voluntary offseason begins April 27 and the highlighted word’s voluntary.”
Jet For Life still your plan?
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