The "I'm tryin', bro!'' part of the Jamal Adams story is true; those are the weekend words of the disgruntled All-Pro safety when asked by a fan about his desire to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys.
But the story that he is asking for "$20 million per year'' as he seeks a contract extension and a trade from the New York Jets?
"Those words never came out of (Adams') mouth,'' a source close to the situation told 105.3 in Dallas.
There are certain aspects of this increasingly complex story that remain clear. To wit:
*Adams has requested a trade away from the Jets, with a source close to the situation telling me last week that the DFW native's preferred destination is his hometown.
"He wants to be traded to the Cowboys,'' the source said.
*Adams is now so open about this desire that he's saying it to Cowboys fans while hanging around in Lewisville, Texas.
*While the Jets insist they will not trade Adams, they have on multiple occasions either fielded offers or advertised a desire to listen to them.
*Adams feels betrayed due to constant promises from Jets management that they would negotiate in good faith a contract extension - while in fact they have not negotiated at all, at one recent point even telling the 24-year-old team captain that they wanted to check his devotion and commitment ("all-in'' is the phrase used) before moving forward.
*The Jets remain angry at Dallas due to "leaks'' they believe came from inside The Star when the two teams exchanged trade proposals last October. (Indeed, I list this - not the salary or the trade cost - as the No. 1 obstacle to a trade.) The Cowboys are being especially careful to say nothing this time around, and as we write this, haven't even placed a phone call of inquiry.
All told, the stories of bitterness add to the complexities. Where did the "$20 million per year'' tale come from? Adams' camp suspects it's a propaganda leak from the Jets. Meanwhile, I reported on May 23 Adams' possibly willingness to give Dallas a "hometown discount'' in the form of a delay on the extension or a lower price than otherwise wished for. The assumed "wished-for'' price? Somewhere in the range of $15 million average per year (APY.)
At $20 million APY, Adams would join just five defensive players currently owning annual salaries above $20 mil: Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack ($23.5 mil), Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5 mil), Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence ($21 mil), Indianapolis Colts defensive end DeForest Buckner ($21 mil) and Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark ($20.8 mil).
It's an argument for another day as to whether Adams - the best player on the Jets roster who, in a Dallas uniform, would become the best defensive player on the Cowboys roster - is worth $20 million. It's still another argument as to whether Adams' agent would eventually present that request to the Jets, if and when the Jets ever actually open the promised negotiations.
But that $20 million day is not here. Because contrary to the floated story, while "I'm tryin', bro'' expresses Adams' sentiment perfectly, that $20 million number "never came out (Adams') mouth.''