If you believe his activity on Instagram, Adams wants to go to the Eagles, as he recently liked a photo of him in midnight green. He also, of course, liked a photo of him in a Seattle Seahawks jersey. And a photo of him in a Houston Texans jersey. And a photo of him in an Arizona Cardinals jersey.
So while Adams’ actual desired destination might not be crystal clear, what is obvious is that he wants out of New York, and more than likely that means he is going to end up on one of the seven teams on his desired list.
Deciding how much the Eagles should give up for Adams in a deal isn’t easy. There is no getting around how good of a player Adams is. He is a play-making, in-the-box safety that creates turnovers, delivers big hits and is considered a locker-room leader. Adams would come in and be one of the best players on the Eagles, and it wouldn’t be surprising if before long he was breaking down the defensive huddle.
The issue is the money Adams wants. Although he would cost the Eagles only his base salary of $825,000 in 2020, Adams wants a contract that will make him one of — if not the — highest paid safeties in the NFL. That is the real issue with Adams — not his level of play, not who he is, not that he doesn’t want to be in New York. Adams wants paid, and any team that gets him is going to have to pay him a massive new deal, one that likely averages around $14 million a year and has around $30-35 million in guarantees.
That would be an issue any year, but it is an especially big one now. Cap space is at a premium right now in the NFL, considering the potential of the 2021 cap taking a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t sign Adams, who is just 24-years old. It just means they will need to get creative with how they structure the contract, and try to avoid a big-cap hit until 2022 -- something that Howie Roseman and cap guru Jake Rosenberg could likely pull off.
Still, the big-money attached to an Adams trade should severely limit what the Eagles offer up for him. Adams is good, but he isn’t a big enough difference maker that I would be willing to both give up a premium asset while also handing him a massive, salary cap-changing new deal. I’m not trading Zach Ertz, and no, I’m not trading Dallas Goedert. The Eagles need all the help they cna get on offense right now, and in the NFL, offense still wins. Yes, I would trade Alshon Jeffery, but he won’t be enough to get Adams.
So with all that being said, here would be my two best, take-it-or-leave it offers to the Jets:
I am absolutely not giving up a first-round pick for Adams. Not with the money I have to pay him. The Eagles are in desperate need of young, elite, cost-controlled talent, and the best place to find that is in the first-round of the NFL Draft. If Adams was going to be on a rookie deal, I’d consider the first. Since he isn’t, the highest I would go in draft capital is a second-round pick, and count on that pick being in the 50’s like it was in 2019. I would add McLeod into the deal as he gives the Jets some on-the-field help in 2020, and although he wouldn’t be a direct replacement, it would clear some room in the Eagles’ secondary for Adams.
A player-for-player swap, with a mid-round pick thrown in, could make sense for both teams. The Eagles get Adams without having to give up a premium draft pick. The Jets get a young player with potential at a more important position than Adams plays. Like Adams, Barnett is in line for a payday soon, and although it (presumably) won’t be the size of Adams’ deal, the Eagles could decide to get value for Barnett now instead of having to decide whether to pay him in a year. Jets general manager Joe Douglas was the driving force behind the Eagles taking Barnett in 2017, and could decide a change of scenery, and a year of good health, would make him the dominant pass-rusher everyone thought he could be coming out of Tennessee.
Losing Barnett would be a blow to an already questionable Eagles’ ground of defensive ends, but I think there is a better chance Adams is an impact player both this year and moving forward.