One day after Jamal Adams revealed a bizarre web of broken promises by Jets brass in a Daily News bombshell exclusive, Gang Green parted ways with their undisputed best player.
General manager Joe Douglas shipped one of the NFL’s biggest stars to Seattle on Saturday for a boatload of draft capital that he hopes will set a new foundation for the star-crossed franchise. The Jets traded Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for 2021 and 2022 first-rounders, a 2021 third-rounder and veteran safety Bradley McDougald.
The Jets and Seahawks started having serious trade discussions a month ago before having a framework in place about five days ago, according to sources. Although the deal was not done, it looked promising. Both teams waited for clarity on the impact of future salary caps before deciding on whether or not to proceed.
Then, Adams made explosive remarks in the Daily News on Friday.
It was a significant haul on paper for Douglas, who was in a precarious position after Adams told the News about a series of events that pulled back the curtain on an acrimonious contract extension stalemate this offseason. Adams also took aim at head coach Adam Gase’s poor leadership.
“I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land,” Adams told the News about Gase. “As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building.”
Douglas didn’t follow through on his offseason claim that he wanted Adams to be “a Jet for life,” stonewalling and shifting his position for months. Adams, one of the team’s captains and the emotional leader, grew tired of tactics that he believed were not in good faith, and sought permission to be traded.
Douglas, who told Adams’ camp that he was open to moving the team’s best player for the right price, pulled the trigger with an organization with a winning culture.
Meanwhile, the Jets, mired in the third-longest active playoff drought in the NFL (nine seasons), suffered a blow to their chances of making the postseason this year by losing their most productive player.
Adams, a two-time Pro Bowler, had established himself as one of the game’s most dominant forces. He was a game-wrecker in his first season in Gregg Williams’ defense, playing everything from safety to linebacker to edge rusher en route to first-team All-Pro honors.
Adams was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (10), pass deflections (7), quarterback hits (13) and forced fumbles (2) in 2019. He led the Jets in solo tackles (61) and finished second in total tackles (75) and sacks (6 1/4 u00bd) despite missing the first two games of the season. Adams racked up 23 pressures, most among safeties since Pro Football Focus began tracking in 2006.
“I think the world of him,” Williams said last month about Adams. “I’ve had a chance to coach a lot of really good players. Some that are already in the Hall of Fame. And many others that are going to go in the Hall of Fame. And he’s going to have a legitimate chance staying healthy to be one of those guys later on that we’ll all talk about.”
While the 24-year-old Adams will take his talents to the Pacific Northwest, the Jets hope that they can rebuild their foundation (again) over the next couple seasons. The smartest play would have been to pay Adams, who was scheduled to make $3.6 million in the fourth year of his rookie contract.
Instead, Adams became the latest Jets first-round pick to be shipped off. Gang Green has traded away five first-round picks drafted from 2013-17.
“Jamal is an amazing player,” Douglas said this offseason. “We saw what he did all year, but really when we deployed him, he was such a factor as a pass rusher around the box. He did so many good things. His leadership … he was voted team MVP by his peers. He’s a special guy.”
But evidently not special enough to commit to him long-term.
“I want to win,” Adams told the News. “I want to be with an organization that wants to win and do things the right way.”
He got his wish.
“To NY & especially the Jets fans: I love you & will always love you,” Adams tweeted on Saturday after the trade. “You all will hold a special place in my heart forever. When I came into the league, you embraced me & watched me grow! We went through it all together. Thank you for the Luv & support these 3 years.”
Meanwhile, Douglas, who engaged in Adams trade conversations at the deadline last season, collected more lottery tickets at the expense of the 2020 Jets. If he can nail those picks, he’ll be rightfully lauded. If not, he just let a 24-year-old superstar on a Hall of Fame track out of the building.
Either way, it’s going to be a slow build for the Jets.
Trading away Adams also isn’t going to play well in the locker room, but Douglas’ job is to take a macro view of the franchise. He obviously felt that the best way to wiggle out of a bad situation that he partly created was to trade Adams before the start of training camp next week.
There’s little doubt that Douglas could have done a much better job handling the saga, but he got an impressive return on paper.
Let’s be realistic though: The Seahawks will likely be in the playoff/Super Bowl conversation for the foreseeable future, so Gang Green’s two first-rounders from Seattle will be in the mid-high 20s at best. In other words, Douglas isn’t getting additional Top 10 picks from this trade.
Douglas took a gamble with a blockbuster decision that will define his career.
History will remember him as a genius or a fool.
With a move of this magnitude, there is no in-between.
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