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No one around the Jets could have ever imagined on April 27, 2017, that it would have come to this.
That was the night the Jets selected Jamal Adams with the No. 6 pick overall. That was the night the Jets envisioned the safety from LSU transforming not just their defense, but their building. That was the night they thought they had landed a cornerstone player.
“I’m versatile,” an emotional Adams told NFL Network moments after he was picked that night in Philadelphia. “But not only that, I’m a great person off the field. I’m not going to cause any harm to the Jets organization. We going to get this thing rolling, and we’re going to get back to that Super Bowl.”
That night feels like it was 100 years ago, not just three. On Sunday, Adams is going to do everything he can to cause harm to the Jets organization.
Adams will be flying around the field as a member of the Seahawks defense, a reminder of the start of this terrible Jets season. The team traded Adams to Seattle on July 25. Jets general manager Joe Douglas got a haul that included Seattle’s next two first-round picks. The trade came after the Jets did not offer Adams the contract extension he wanted and after he demanded a trade and pouted his way out of town.
Five months later, the Jets are 0-12 and going to Seattle to see Adams, who will be “out for blood,” as one Jet put it this week.
The final grade on this trade for the Jets won’t be known for years. It will be determined by what Douglas does with the three picks he got in return for Adams, particularly the first-rounders.
But with Adams on the other sideline this week, it is a good time to revisit the trade and see how it is working out.
Adams has had a down year compared to the last two. He has been dealing with groin and shoulder injuries that have hurt his production and kept him out of four games. Adams has looked better lately now that he is healthy and does have 7.5 sacks, a staggering total for a safety.
What Seattle has gotten from Adams looks an awful lot like what the Jets got out of him. He is a fantastic player around the line of scrimmage — a reliable tackler and an excellent blitzer. But the Seahawks have the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL. Adams does not have an interception. He has two in his career.
That was a big factor in the Jets’ thinking of first not extending his contract and then trading him. While Adams can be a nice piece of a winning team, he was viewed as a luxury for the Jets, one they could not afford with the current state of their team. He did not play a premium position that can truly affect winning and losing. Adams was like putting a pool in the backyard when the foundation of your house is crumbling.
Adams had worn on people inside the Jets organization as well. While he projected himself as a great leader, inside the Jets he was viewed as disruptive and a “me” guy. Things boiled over this spring after the Jets rejected his request for a contract that would have made him the highest-paid player on the team, meaning more than the $17 million a year they were paying C.J. Mosley.
The love affair between the Jets and Adams had soured before that, though. Adams was viewed as a diva and rubbed teammates and team officials the wrong way several times starting in 2018.
- In an interview with Bleacher Report in the summer of 2018, Adams said that “everybody was used to losing” with the Jets and “it was like everybody wanted to do the bare minimum.” That did not sit well with the veterans on the team. He reiterated the comments in October 2018 on WFAN and said the culture had not changed.
- After the Jets lost to the Browns in 2018, Adams said on WFAN that the Jets did not prepare for backup quarterback Baker Mayfield and were caught by surprise, an indictment of coach Todd Bowles.
- At the conclusion of the 2018 season, Adams made a public plea for the organization to get “dawgs” and improve the talent, something seen as a criticism of the players he shared the locker room with.
- His teammates were stunned after the trade deadline in 2019 when he said he would “love” to be on the Cowboys, but threw a fit that the Jets thought of trading him. Inside the Jets it was well known that Adams had been the one trying to orchestrate his exit from New York, telling Dallas players he wanted to be there and they should tell Jerry Jones.
Many of Adams’ criticisms of the Jets were not wrong. They did lack talent and there were culture issues. The problem was going public with them. If Adams was the leader he made himself out to be, he could have handled things internally. But Adams loves being the center of attention and relished his role as team savior.
Now, he’s in a new locker room and has been on his best behavior. Adams is still waiting on that contract.
The Jets are winless without Adams and have clearly lacked his play-making ability and the energy he brought to the team. Would they be better with Adams? Surely. Would they be a winning team with Adams? No.
The final verdict on the Adams trade remains to be seen. But it is safe to say no one in Florham Park misses Adams all that much.
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