The Jets, are a mess, again. Yeah, I know. Not much new there.
And, in true Jets fashion, their dueling controversies -- the Jamal Adams -- have bled over, creating the perfect tabloid storm. Alas, it's almost like the glory days again, back at training camp in Courtland, NY, where Johnson briefed the media on how great the chemistry and culture of his team was while, over his shoulder, Rex Ryan tried to break up melee after melee between the offense and defense.made by CNN and the New York Times against owner Woody Johnson, which the US ambassador to the UK denies, and the ongoing contractual feud with their best player, safety
Good times! The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The NFL is the ultimate alpha league, so when quality organizations see weak organizations struggling and vulnerable, looking a bit like chum in the water -- well, that's when they pounce. And for months, several teams have been monitoring Adams' situation ever-so-closely, checking in on the asking price, getting a bit of a chuckle out of this hapless franchise battling its star safety over money and trade demands. And with Adams among those lashing out at Johnson this week in the immediate aftermath of the extensive reporting on his words and deeds while serving this country abroad, I can assure you that numerous front offices are doubling back with the Jets and coordinating their strategies to try to benefit from this latest episode.
From my interactions with personnel men, I get the strong sense that teams feel like now might be the time to try to end the Adams circus on the cheap. There is a perception that with the Johnson allegations this serious, that even with the owner denying them, this story (and further reporting on it) is not going away. Other teams think the Jets are deep in crisis management mode, and that shedding Adams now might be in their best interest given his willingness to weigh in on Johnson's situation on social media.
And with Adams going public with his distaste for Johnson, and further issues with how this franchise is run, some GMs figure they might be able to throw the player a lifeline on the cheap as well; we'll rescue you from the Jets mess and bring you to a winning, stable culture, but in return you have do us a solid and wait until 2021 to get a new contract. The economic constraints due to COVID-19, and the prospect of playing games without fans only furthers part of that sentiment.
But I would strongly caution against it.
As much as Adams wants out of New York -- and he is hardly the first prominent Jet to be seeking an exodus -- let us not forget what is at the crux of his fallout with the franchise that selected him in the first round just a few years ago. Dude wants to get paid. He has established himself as one of the best in the world at what he does, he has endured turnover and instability during his tenure there, and he is surrounded by a weak roster without a single other worthy candidate for a contract extension.
There are no other mouths to feed at Florham Park. Only Adams. Only their best player.
We can debate what his price point should be and how much he should make per year. One cannot debate that the Jets have no other contractual situations to even consider, much less actually address via negotiation. If they don't want to pay him, so be it, but I have an incredibly hard time seeing Adams sign off on a trade and report anywhere else without a new contract.
Who knows how many games will be played this year, and how much players will be compensated if it's less than 16 contest? That remains the elephant in the room between the owners and the NFLPA as they continue to make good progress towards a sweeping deal to re-open the league. And I strongly anticipate them resolving that sooner or later. But Adams playing out anther year of his rookie deal on a prorated, slotted rookie contract just doesn't pass my smell test.
Any attempt to spite him, given his remarks about ownership, and to try to ship him to a bad team that might not be inclined to pay him right now would only make this situation more ugly than it already is. Sure, the new CBA makes holdouts increasingly punitive, but there will be COVID-related opt-outs in this new NFL-NFLPA deal and I get the sense that Adams is pretty stuck in on his fiscal stance.
Now is not the time for the Jets to get cute. It may be time for them to get more real about what type of draft-pick compensation they could rightfully expect to yield for the safety, with the scope of his issues with the franchise only growing deeper. And perhaps it just might be that no team is willing to meet the Jets' demands and also meet Adams's financial expectations.
In fact, in a pandemic with so much uncertainty swirling about all parts of life in this country, that is actually to be expected. But I wouldn't get things twisted that the events of this week now make it more feasible for a winning team to benefit by swooping in to save the day. Money talks. And it's at the very heart of this stalemate between team and player. I don't see a trade changing that at all, even as this crisis grows deeper.