For as productive as safety Jamal Adams has been in his first three NFL seasons, his relationship with the New York Jets hasn't been without its bumps in the road.
Adams is set to make just $7 million entering the 2020 season, and the Jets exercised his option for 2021 which would pay him $9.86 million.
The Jets reportedly did listen to calls for Adams last trade deadline, but did so with an asking price that teams weren't willing to meet. All evidence suggests that they would prefer to keep the former first-round pick over the long-term, if at all possible.
However, not all evidence suggests they'll be successful in their attempt to keep Adams beyond his rookie contract. Rich Cimini of ESPN reported Thursday that Adams has requested a trade. Additionally, Adam Schefter noted seven teams in which Adams has shown an interest.
In three seasons with the Jets, the 24-year-old has proven to be the heart and soul of Gang Green’s defense and one of the most impactful safeties in the game, totaling 12 sacks, 210 tackles, six forced fumbles, four fumbles recovered and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
Adams garnered First-Team All-Pro honors last season with a career-high 6.5 sacks in addition to seven passes defended, 61 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Those numbers should have any GM trying to contend for a Super Bowl in 2020 trying to pick up the phone and call Jets general manager Joe Douglas. Here are four potential destinations that we view as the likeliest options, despite the seven laid out on Schefter's list:
The Cowboys were linked to Adams last season at the trade deadline, but the asking price was reportedly too high as the Jets asked for a first- and two second-round picks for Adams. But with Adams clearly unhappy, perhaps that price comes down a bit, bringing Dallas back to the negotiating table. The Cowboys have already added one Pro Bowl safety this year in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but Adams ahas the higher ceiling and is the more versatile player. Plus, Jerry Jones is not one to shy away from a flashy deal, and with the Cowboys’ window to win a Super Bowl now, it makes sense to add a playmaker like Adams to the defense.
San Francisco 49ers
Man, oh man. This defense is good enough. They don't need Jamal Adams. But I could see why they'd want Jamal Adams. After all, they lost a huge piece of their defense in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, letting DeForest Buckner free. Though Buckner fulfills an entirely different role for the Niners, adding an impact player like Adams would help to shore up any weaknesses that remain on the defense.
Jaquiski Tartt isn't yet the player that Adams is, and his contract year is coming up, and so Adams' addition would be an obvious improvement and a potential long-term investment to replace Tartt. The Niners have the cap room to look into an extension, as well, and the secondary wasn't an area that was addressed through the 2020 Draft. A secondary featuring Adams and Richard Sherman, behind that defensive front? Yikes.
The Eagles let Malcolm Jenkins walk in free agency this offseason and not only lost a three-time Pro Bowl safety, but also a leader and sparkplug of the defense. Who better to fill those shoes than Jamal Adams? He would join Darius Slay in a revamped Eagles secondary that was among the worst in the NFL in 2019.
The only problem here, however, is Philadelphia does not currently have the cap space to sign Adams to an extension. Looking at the contracted players for 2021 via overthecap.com, there is not a whole lot of fat the Eagles can trim, either. They could trade for Adams and exercise his fifth-year option, but then the safety is just back in the same position he is with the Jets and would be unhappy as well. If the Eagles really wanted Adams, they’d have to find a way to get creative with the cap and restructure some deals.
If this offseason has taught us anything about Bill O'Brien's tenure as the Texans' general manager, it's that we literally can't rule out any possibility. DeAndre Hopkins' trade, in pretty much any offseason that didn't involve Tom Brady's momentous departure and Rob Gronkowski's return, would undeniably be the headlining news.
And so, a trade for Jamal Adams, which actually is a lot more sensible than the Hopkins/David Johnson/Brandin Cooks trade movement this year, is definitely something we could envision going down. Houston still has nearly $20 million in cap space, a number which shoots up to $99 million by 2022 (via Over The Cap) and though they're a little low on 2021 draft picks to use as trade capital, they still have a first and second rounder in 2022 at their disposal. Houston didn't add a safety through the draft and currently lack a proven presence at strong safety alongside Justin Reid.