The idea that the New York Jets-Jamal Adams situation is “just business” as per a contract is as hopeful as it gets in today’s world.
The man and his son, the boy, tote a shopping cart in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Not a hint of color can be seen for hundreds of miles, insects may be the only food source for weeks, and the duo has to fend off cannibals at every turn.
For those who have seen The Road, a post-apocalyptic tale produced partly by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, you can already describe the gloomy scenery.
Father and son didn’t stroll around town thinking things were fine and dandy. Why should everybody do the same concerning the Jamal Adams fiasco?
To suggest the New York Jets and their best player are merely “playing the business game” and nothing more is to completely ignore reality. Granted, very few individuals believe this to be the case, but those riding this bandwagon need to wake up and feel the Florham Park earthquakes caused by an unnatural disaster that marks an organization’s serious crossroads moment.
It’s personal. It’s extremely personal.
Former Jet Damon Harrison chimed in the other day with a thought: Adams’s recent public displays won’t into dissension due to the long-standing tradition that other players don’t get involved. They mind their business as per financial matters.
No it won’t. It’s business and the number one rule of it is to mind your own. https://t.co/3Vz22gJJDt
— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) June 22, 2020
On the surface, this is true. In reality, not all things live on the surface.
Teammates will rarely go public or say anything eyebrow-raising when asked a contractual question about another player in the league, no less a teammate. But only robots can force those feelings to not exist at all.
Not every man of the 55-man roster, coaching staff and entire organization’s employment pool will like each other. That’s just human nature. The very same nature also suggests chemistry is a big deal in the game of football. Trust does, indeed, matter when thinking 11 vs. 11 and bodily harm involved. The very same folks who’d argue Adams would never give less than 100 percent on the field (I would argue that as well) also didn’t think this scenario was possible this time last year. Yet here we are.
What Adams has done has crossed the line of simple “contract negotiation.”
The moment he typed “maybe it’s time to move on” in a random Instagram post while replying to a random fan was the moment—in the eyes of many football players nationwide—he quit on his teammates in the eyes of many. No longer is “winning” or the “Super Bowl” the top priority. No longer is it the collective No. 1 goal.
Some acts can never be covered by a mulligan. The “trying” to play for “Dallas” line while driving off just cemented his recent line-crossing. At this point, “He’s a habitual line-stepper.”
No solo incident exists that can be addressed. A campaign has been born, one in which the pattern of behavior suggests the kid will do anything in his power to get what he wants; and if it’s not this issue, it’ll be another down the road.
Players remember this. They absorb the information and eventually use it towards future negotiations. The moment the Jets cave to Adams’s demands is the instant ammo is born for other future players to use as per contractual disputes.
Even in the case of the organization, it’s only ever “business as usual” in the public eye.
Joe Douglas has been preaching culture since day No. 1, and he hasn’t allowed the media to forget about his top mission with the Jets: “to build the best culture in sports.” That specific mission statement sees a nuclear bomb dropped on it if the organization bows to Adams’s demands.
This isn’t to say all hope is lost. The best-case scenario suggests Adams and Douglas meet face to face and hash things out. Much like post-trade deadline 2019, they come to an understanding, and shortly thereafter, Adams is signed to the deal he craves.
The culture would still take a hit, but OK, the deed would be done, and public relations time with the spin masters is needed to right the ship publicly. The worst-case scenario paints the Jets’ brass in a bitter mood. Again, it’ll never be displayed in a public manner, but perhaps the anger is very realistic considering the mission statement at hand. Suggesting other teams while still contractually employed in a no-no in the NFL.
Either way, this stopped representing a run-of-the-mill contract negotiation and became something very different when Adams decided to do business in a public manner. He also may have irreparably damaged his good name with the fanbase when he judged Jets fans based on the social media landscape—the place where the vocal minority always dwells, no matter the industry or area of life.
There’s also that newly-reported Adam Gase issue. Whether or not Gase has anything to do with Adams’s unhappiness and/or willingness to be a Jet moving forward is unknown. What’s understood is the fact Gase represents an easy out. The always-tuned-in Adams knows the Jets head coach is extremely unpopular among the fanbase and feels the court of public opinion flocked with the opposition. Without any specific reasons provided by Adams as to why he’s so upset, Gase sure does feel like an obvious mark.
At the very least, specific Gase-involved instances are required. If not required by the masses, the organization will always face this extra challenge. Not only do the Jets have to play the game on the field, but they also have to play the “game within the game.” The New York media is an opponent in itself, and Adams, the intelligent kid he is, understands he can play the game as well.
It’s just that there’s no coming back from this specific game—not if Douglas values respect.
A simple announcement that a holdout is on the horizon would have been Adams’s “only business” card—one that would have been deemed fair by all accounts. Le’Veon Bell made little noise when he decided to holdout and stick to those guns, and, oh yeah, a couple of his teammates decided to actually speak their minds.
Maurkice Pouncey labeled Bell as “honestly, a little selfish,” and Ramon Foster said Bell was “a guy who doesn’t give a damn.”
The best part? Bell was set to play on a second-consecutive franchise-tag year (having already played out his rookie deal) and didn’t make 10 percent of the noise Adams already has. Bell also raked in just $4.12 million over his four-year rookie deal—a far cry from a first-round three-year vet set to make over $30 million in five seasons.
Perhaps Snacks was in hibernation two years ago.
Credit the Jets for this much: not one Jets player has publicly bashed or backed Adams during these virtual times—a strange place in history when speaking to the public is a keyboard away and the time to do so is unlimited while quarantining.
Lost in all of this is the legitimacy of Adams’s actual claim. Just a couple of weeks ago, the fanbase was split on whose side they should stand with. Adams possesses every right to fight for an extension, especially when thinking about the current system that provides drafted players very little leverage.
The kid just came out swinging for the fences in the wrong ring, the incorrect fight to choose. It’s the agreed-upon CBA he needs to beef with while loudly stating his holdout without the extra drama.
The mere mention of possibly playing for another team while under contract for two more years with a current organization crosses that “business only” line, and everybody knows it, whether or not they’ll admit it publicly. Tack on the Marcus Maye goodbye tweet and senseless social media activity for fun.
“He’s a habitual line-stepper.” Maybe they’ll meet at the China Club!