Jamal Adams
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

There’s a major problem with the tactic that features Joe Douglas and the New York Jets waiting out Jamal Adams over time.

Robby Sabo

Trading Jamal Adams doesn’t sound like the greatest idea at the moment. Considering the NFL draft has come and gone coupled with the idea Joe Douglas might be hard-pressed to find worthwhile value makes an Adams deal a tough one.

Quickly turning around to sign the man is also a tough sell. Dishing out big bucks to this guy after public displays of disrespect and a trade request to boot would make the New York Jets general manager resemble a hypocrite after preaching everything “culture” for a calendar year.

Adams has already demonstrated the willingness to publicly do whatever it takes to get his way. Such a move doesn’t seamlessly slide in with the overall message that has the Jets wanting to build the “best culture in sports”—the vision, the mantra, the idea that drives all future activity.

Then there’s the third option, the one fans keep screaming about, the one that will probably be the course of action until further notice. After all, it’s simple. It requires neither batteries nor instructions.

Don’t do anything. Just hold ground and call the man’s bluff.

He’s signed for another two years (without even thinking about the franchise tag possibilities), and Adams loves the game to such a degree he wouldn’t dare hold out—something that’s really hurt players’ leverage in recent cases (see Le’Veon Bell) as opposed to serving as an advantage.

On the surface, the “don’t do anything” tact sounds great in theory.

If only it were that easy.

These guys aren’t robots. Jamal Adams isn’t a machine any one person or organization can order around at his/her or its will. He’s flesh and blood with human emotions attached at all times and displayed quite frequently.

Building the right culture equates to communication and tremendous vibes around the facility and locker room. Correctly kickstarting a winning program signals respect and integrity. How Douglas handles this situation will reverberate throughout his following years as Jets’ front office boss.

It’s easy to spot the hypocrisy in handing Adams a new deal. The respect meter drops in the eyes of many in Florham Park and around the league. Douglas’s actions on the open market this past offseason brought a refreshing take on the Jets’ front office activities.

Instead of begging players to come to New Jersey, and subsequently overpaying them, Douglas always knew the appropriate place to stop. Players such as Brian Poole and Jordan Jenkins walked away with much less than everybody thought would be the ultimate outcome. It was purely due to Douglas’s willingness to understand his and his organization’s own value.

Sure, the argument can be made that the Jets are hurting their stock in the eyes of other superstars around the league by not paying Adams. That outcome is doubtful. Very rarely do players snag that extension after their third year in the league. Players and agents know this; they know the business and won’t turn down market-value money from the Jets in the future because they didn’t pay Jamal Adams once upon a time.

How a front office handles negotiations is a much bigger respect issue in the eyes of these players. More important is the idea of overall success. The chicken or the egg formula depends on Douglas to first create a winner so that success can be seen and respect is had.

Adams’s presence won’t make or break that level of success the Jets are after. The wrong move that leads to a lack of respect around the league could. Adams’s disgruntled nature on a day in, day out basis around the facility and locker room also could hamper the team’s program trajectory.

Harmony within a football program’s structure is as real as apple pie. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady know it as well as anybody. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana knew it—despite Charles Haley‘s best efforts to make everybody think twice. The reason the legit personnel-decision makers preach culture is because it matters a whole hell of a lot.

No. 33 doing what he can to make the organization get rid of him squarely squashes such harmony. The Jamal Adams who’s fully committed to his employer—the guy we witnessed up until this offseason—is the man a GM would want leading the culture charge. Unfortunately, that’s not the guy currently present.

Also remember this: Adams is a prideful individual. He’s a young man who not only wants to be paid for his production, but he also wants to win now. In his mind, the Jets simply don’t offer that perk. It’s probably why the report has surfaced that he’s willing to remain in New York for a new deal yet play out his fourth year elsewhere if traded.

Doing nothing and going about business in a way that imagines all is well with this relationship could be a program killer that not only alienates outside perception but inside emotions. Sure, everybody provides the line of “we understand this is a business and we support Jamal,” but over time and in private, the sharp daggers exist.

It’s just never as simple as “let it play out,” especially for a prideful kid who won’t want to reverse course from of his trade request or sit back silently. He’s already demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to make his frustrations known. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when a professional athlete does that once, it’s likely to happen again for another reason.

The proper culture cannot be built if an angry employee is causing havoc. Adams would either have to fall in line and/or a face-to-face with Douglas would have to commence for the “do nothing” route to even be a possibility.

Trade him, sign him or do nothing—there is no home run answer at the moment, especially with the next NFL draft nearly 10 months away.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com
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2 years ago

I agree ,waiting it out might be tough… as you have so astutely pointed out. The only hope is that during the season Jamal realizes the folly of his ways and Joe Douglas is experienced and smooth enough to heal the wounds of an immature and emotional young man. I am sure Joe Douglas has seen this before and will know when to cut bait.