Jamal Adams’ contract debacle with Jets feels all too familiar

A star defensive back in the middle of his prime with a few years remaining on his contract looking for a new deal.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Jets fans.

The Jamal Adams contract saga has a familiar feel to it. Ten years ago, it was Darrelle Revis who felt underpaid and underappreciated by Gang Green and asked for a new contract despite having three years remaining on his rookie deal. That led to a summer of drama, televised on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” with a war of words in the media, a training camp holdout, secret meetings at the Roscoe Diner, clandestine negotiating trips to Florida and finally with Revis getting a short-term deal a few days before the team’s Week 1 opener.

We’re not quite there yet with Adams. It’s still early in the process, but it sure feels like we’re heading toward similar acrimony between the Jets and their best player. The two sides are at an impasse when it comes to an extension for Adams.

The disagreement is simple. Adams wants a new deal immediately. The Jets do want to sign Adams long term eventually but feel no urgency to get a deal done.

So far, both sides are doing what is expected in this contract dance. Adams is making it known he is unhappy by not participating in the team’s virtual offseason program and by having his surrogates push it out in the media that he is upset.

The Jets are standing pat, knowing they hold all the cards right now. Adams is under contract for the next two years and the Jets could control him for a third with the franchise tag. The Jets feel there is no rush to do anything, especially with economic uncertainty surrounding the NFL thanks to COVID-19 and whatever its effect on the 2020 season will be.

Neither side is wrong … yet.

Adams is underpaid at $3.5 million. He has proven to be one of the best safeties in football and the best player on the Jets. He should be asking for more money. It is always unpopular with fans when players ask for more money, especially in the current economic climate, but players have a small window to make their money. I never blame them for trying to maximize their earnings. Those of you who say he is greedy and should honor his contract, should the Jets have honored Trumaine Johnson’s contract? That is not how the NFL works. Contracts are ended early all the time by teams. Players should try to get a raise when they can.

That being said, Adams has very little leverage right now. The Jets want to push this negotiation down the road, possibly into next year. That is their right. Adams is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to Joe Douglas’ navigation of the salary cap. Sam Darnold will probably be looking for a new deal himself next year. This is all something the Jets have to balance.

When this gets dicey is whenever training camp arrives. Adams’ only play here is to hold out. That is really the only way a player can apply pressure to a team. The Jets won’t be happy, but I’m not sure they will buckle and Adams, whose emotions run high, will not react well to entering the season without a new deal.

I do think Jets CEO Christopher Johnson and Douglas could send a message that they will take care of their homegrown talent who produces for the Jets, but they could argue they can send that message next year.

This is a road the Jets fans have been down before watching players they had high hopes for end up getting traded, whether it was Revis, Keyshawn Johnson or John Abraham in the past 20 years.

The Jets do not want to trade Adams, according to sources. They remain hopeful this will get worked out. But another summer of discontent in Jetsville is coming. You can feel it. Ten years later, Adams looks like Revis 2.0.

Someone may want to give Douglas directions to the Roscoe Diner.

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