Multiple reports, including from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News and Rich Cimini of ESPN, are stating that sources indicate star Jets safety Jamal Adams is asking the Jets to trade him.
If true, this represents a serious escalation of the war of words Adams has directed at the Jets lately as his unhappiness about not receiving a contract extension grows. The All Pro safety became eligible for a contract extension at the conclusion of his third NFL season this year, and has grown increasingly vocal about getting that extension.
The Jets for their part have voiced an intention to make Adams a Jet for life, but have been in no hurry to open negotiations on a new contract.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this situation especially tricky, as NFL teams know there is a substantial risk that the salary cap will be adjusted downward given the possibility of games being played without fans at the stadiums. Until NFL teams have clarity on this, they will be especially cautious about entering into large new contracts. Adams, for his part, is trying to maximize his earnings in a sport that is extremely violent and is known for short careers. If he can get a large contract extension now, two years before his contract runs out, that will go a long way towards maximizing his earnings. It is unclear how eager any other NFL team might be to both trade significant assets and take on a new mega-contract for Adams.
On the surface the Jets appear to hold most of the leverage in this situation, as they are under no obligation to negotiate and Adams is under contract for two more years, with a third year of control guaranteed to the Jets if they are willing to give Adams the franchise tag. Thus the Jets can do nothing and Adams has limited options. He can play out his contract, or he can sit out, go unpaid, and be fined, but he has no ability to force an extension. However, Adams does have the the ability to become a very disruptive influence on the Jets, and he also has the option to potentially allow minor injuries to “linger” if he’s unhappy, so he is not completely without leverage.
Unhappy players are increasingly becoming successful in “tantruming” their way out of town. It will be interesting to see if Adams will be able to push Jets GM Joe Douglas into either a trade or an extension. Whatever happens, it seems likely things are going to get worse in this situation before they get better.