Jamal Adams: Has the Ship Sailed or will he come slinking back in like Costanza?-Brandon Turner
The cap situation has become clearer for the Jets this week as the NFL and NFLPA finally voted on the new CBA. This is the news Joe Douglas has been waiting on before engaging disgruntled safety Jamal Adams about a contract extension but if the Jets want to keep Jamal they have to help him save face. When Jamal made his proclamation on June 18th that he wanted to be traded from the Jets, it was more than just a business decision. In the hyper masculine alpha male world of a professional athlete like Adams, where everything is a competition, it was a bold risk. If the team doesn’t capitulate, if the offers don’t flow, your value craters and you experience a feeling Adams has likely never felt before. Awkward.
Adams has lived his entire adult life as a rich, attractive, hardworking athlete who can change anything in his reality if he feels passionately enough about it. Unfortunately for him Joe Douglas understands what every experienced parent knows, if a child is throwing a tantrum the best tactic is to ignore it, until the child begins to feel the eyes of all the strangers looking at him and stops out of embarrassment. This is the state Adams has been in for the last 5 weeks on a virtual level, he thrashed around and is no less stuck than before. In his mind the team was supposed to fire back, things were supposed to get messy, and ultimately the drama was supposed to push the team to send him somewhere else. None of those things happened, because Joe Douglas runs a tight ship, and he understands how to play his leverage: if he doesn’t react, Adams can’t win. Now Adams either has to fully commit, by missing training camp and then the season, all the while explaining to his teammates who are in the 1st year of a promising rebuild that he is torpedoing it by demanding a new contract while being multiple years away from free agency. Or Jamal has to come slinking back in like George Costanza in that Seinfeld bit, pretending he never quit in the first place “Oh what THAT? Are you kidding? I didn’t quit, you took that seriously, come on.”
The issue here is that Adams is fiercely proud and competitive. These are the same traits that made him the best safety in the league and to his credit, aside from his contract crying, he has tried to be the kind of culture change team first rah rah guy every organization desperately wants. When Adams isn’t crying about his contract, he has represented exactly the type of hard-working competitive player Joe Douglas wants to build his team around. Rebuilding teams don’t lose their best player if they want to be successful, that is just a simple fact. The idea that they would spend that money wisely on multiple players who would make up for Adams value is optimistic in the extreme and ignores the realities of a continuously more and more scant and volatile free agent market in the NFL. If the Jets take Adams money and overspend on Jadeveon Clowney, who throughout his career has shown that he lacks the hustle and work ethic that has made Adams so great, are they really better off? We all know that until the Jets turn things around the free agents they attract will either force them to overpay, will have major flaws, or will see the Jets as a nice place to retire and stop caring while cashing checks. You know what you’re getting with a happy Adams, which is why Joe Douglas wants to resign him, on his terms and bring him back into the fold. His competitiveness is why if the Jets want to sign Adams they need to extend an olive branch. Adams is clearly uncomfortable with his position. Why else would he resort to giving resident rake mucker Manish Mehta an interview. The piece was designed to force the team’s hand by airing heaps of dirty laundry that infuriated the front office, only… even that backfired as the most scathing thing Adams could come up with is Gase doesn’t give half-time speeches and Joe Douglas left him on read. When a child has been punished it is up to the Adult to pick them up, brush them off and bring them back into the fold. I respect Joe Douglas’s commitment to sticking with his script, but great GMs are flexible too. A quick sentence or two saying he probably should have done a better job keeping Jamal in the loop, the next time he talks to the media, would give Jamal the opening he needs to come back without looking like he completely lost. Then the Jets can get back to trying to take over the division and Jamal can start planning how to make Jarrett Stidham look like a fool instead of himself.