Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Jamal Adams‘s scorched-earth tactics pave way for the New York Jets to potentially see value in a Deshaun Watson trade.

Robby Sabo

To say it wasn’t ugly is to live in a competing world that ditches reality. I mean, hey, it was what it was. Jamal Adams‘s scorched-earth tactics—easily spotted from outer space last offseason—didn’t exactly bleed beauty. Adams was unhappy with his current situation and did whatever it took to get out of town.

The New York Jets, on the other hand, played it cool. Like Fonzie, Joe Douglas led a calm public demeanor that assured everybody Adams’s behavior had nothing to do with the decision to send him to the Great Northwest.

That’s the Jets side—one that greatly benefits the franchise from an overall health perspective. The Adams side lends itself to the NBA and creates miles of space on the open road.

Adams, a man who loves himself a lot of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, paved the way for other football players. Not happy with your current situation? Make as much noise as possible. Turn up the Dennis the Menace volume and go ham.

Then, once it’s all said and done, act as if it was purely a business decision. “Of course there are no hard feelings towards my former employer,” the powerful athlete will utter. “I had to do what was right for me.”

For decades, NFL players haven’t had much maneuverability, especially compared to their NBA counterparts. Unlike the NBA, where the superstar is king, NFL general managers understood there are always multiple routes to a championship.

While that’s still the case, suddenly, NFL players now have bulletin board material ready to better an individual situation. Social media and today’s digital media world allow more employer freedom. Unhappy players will follow the Adams path to current employment destruction en route to greener pastures.

But it can also help some organizations in certain situations.

Meet Deshaun Watson, one of a handful of the best quarterbacks in the league that plays for pay. Then, meet his team—his agent and business manager who seem to be coordinating the Jets talk to the max. Everywhere any NFL fan turns, the Watson-to-the-Jets discussion is currently running much more furiously than your broken-down refrigerator.

At face value, any deal for such an asset would cost a team dearly. The bidding starts at three first-round picks.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler chimed in on Wednesday with that exact claim. This is the same Folwer who reported that the Seattle Seahawks have spoken with Adam Gase regarding their open offensive coordinator position. (But that’s a totally different story for a much more hilarious day.)

Again, at face value, that package makes sense. Then again, trades don’t always happen at face value and Adams’s actions last offseason could pave the way for serious Jets value in a potential deal.

It all comes down to the no-trade clause.

Off the bat, Watson has already started down the road of the scorched-earth path. He’s done everything but outright announce a trade demand.

If Watson decides he wants to play with only the Jets, Douglas can acquire him on a bargain. Maybe two first-round picks and change can get it done.

A disgruntled NFL star is a tough thing to handle. A disgruntled star with a no-trade clause could present near-impossible scenarios for an organization.

The Jets sent Adams to the Seattle Seahawks because Douglas loved the trade package. Whether or not Douglas was abiding by Adams’s “team wishlist” isn’t known. It could have simply been a coincidence that the Seahawks were on Adams’s list of several approved teams. Adams had no leverage other than sitting out without pay.

In Watson’s case, the player holds all the cards. Watson can burn the organization down (figuratively) while making life a living hell for the Texans brass. On top of that, if he tells the front office he wants the Jets, and only the Jets, suddenly, the Texans’ leverage is gone.

The idea when trading a star player is to increase options. Increase the potential suitors and have each bid against one another. If Watson plays hardball, it’s possible the Jets will represent the only suitor. At that point, keeping that fact as secretive as possible would be key for all parties involved.

Houston can always hold out and call Watson’s bluff. Would he actually sit out a season in the case Houston refuses to trade him? It’s tough to know. But for Houston to take that chance when the No. 2 overall pick is available would be a tough gamble.

Not only did Adams pave the way for the modern NFL disgruntled player, but the compensation the Jets received for his services will play a big role in a potential Watson deal. Douglas could afford to unload a couple of first-rounders, and remember, not all first-round picks are created equal.

The No. 2 pick is not your standard first-round selection. In the Jimmy Johnson draft pick value chart, the 2,600 points the No. 2 pick represents as opposed to the Miami Dolphins’ 2,200 points at No. 3 looms large. New York’s No. 23 pick is worth just 760 points, for example. To think three first-round picks with the No. 2 pick involved is a must in a Watson deal is assuming under the circumstances.

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A realistic trade package in a situation that sees Watson demand the Jets could be as follows:

Jets receive:

  • Deshaun Watson
  • 2022 fifth-round pick (HOU)

Texans receive:

  • 2021 first-round pick, No. 3 (NYJ)
  • 2022 first-round pick (NYJ)
  • 2021 second-round pick (NYJ)
  • 2021 third-round pick (NYJ)

Of course, Watson would need to demand the Jets as the only acceptable destination—something that’s still a far off reality.

For now, the speculation will continue. And make no mistake about it: The rumored trade packages have been realistic (if not a little overboard in many cases). But not all trade situations are created equal.

Joe Douglas, a man who loves the idea of winning on value, has a chance to snag one of the better NFL quarterbacks for far less than most people think. All that has to happen now is Deshaun Watson calling Jamal Adams’s scorched-earth tactics and raising him Armageddon. He’s already begun walking down a similar path.

At the very least, the Jets’ former best player has paved the way for a variety of Watson-to-New York options, including one that could be deemed a bargain. Without Jamal’s 2020 offseason, who knows how vocal Watson would be right now.

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verge tibbs
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verge tibbs

Word. I still think JD will try his hardest to only use what he got for adams and turn adams into watson. That would be the greatest magic trick a jets gm ever pulled off and texans save face cause they got 2 1sts for a player who wanted out anyway. I like greenbean’s take that he’d throw in darnold with the adams loot and thats it. Trade out of #2 and get this team built. I know it sounds too good for the jets to be true but theres all the reasons you listed plus a couple more: texans… Read more »

elehtis
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elehtis

The value of the #2 pick overall in this case is that if Houston wants to replace Watson with any QB in the draft not named Trevor, only the Jets can guarantee that. Furthermore, Douglas can say “oh, you don’t want to give us Watson in exchange for the opportunity to draft Wilson (plus a bunch of other picks)? Fine, we like Wilson too and I guess we’ll just draft him ourselves.” So if Houston trades with Miami, for example, they end up with neither QB. Should be pretty strong leverage,