Jamal Adams requests a trade from the New York Jets – and Dallas seems to be his preferred destination

All-Pro safety Jamal Adams has provided the New York Jets with the classic NFL ultimatum: pay me, or trade me.

And as of this past weekend, Adams seems to have a clear destination in mind, considering he was seen in North Texas on Sunday and expressed a desire to resume his career in his home state.

In light of the weekend video clip, NFL Network’s Jane Slater expanded upon Adams’ trade request and his hankering to be a Cowboy.

The Jets drafted Adams with the sixth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2018, while also being named a Second-Team All-Pro, and last season, he made his First-Team All-Pro debut.

And this past week, Adams’ discontent with his current contract – one that will pay him $3.5 million next season – came to a head, resulting in an official trade request.

His frustration was highlighted by a comment on an Instagram post, in which Adams says, “Maybe it’s time to move on!”

Along with his request, Adams also provided a list of teams to which he would welcome a trade.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport elaborated on Adams’ current standoff with the Jets.

“The Jets do not want to trade him and have no plans to do so. If they do trade him, by the way, it would be a huge bounty. Potential first round pick and more. But they believe he is a building block to the team. They want to give him an extension. This is where the frustration from Adams comes in. Given the global pandemic, very, very few teams have struck big money extensions with their stars … So of course, the Jets wanna wait to do a deal with Adams until there’s more certainty for the season. That is something that is not good enough for him. He doesn’t understand why the Jets haven’t made him a big offer, and no doubt, he wants to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL.”

If the Jets were to trade Adams, he would represent the third All-Pro defensive player that New York parted ways with in the past two decades.

Few might argue that the 24-year old Adams has earned a big payday, but as is normally the case in the NFL, contract extensions before a player’s contract is expired can be contentious.

Now that the Jets are officially the latest team to endure a contract standoff with their superstar player, what should the franchise do next? Sign Adams to a big, long-term deal, let the situation play out, or trade him?

Legendary New York sports radio host Mike Francesa thinks that before Adams demands a new contract, he needs to help produce more wins for the Jets organization. With that, he advised the Jets to trade Adams and get a monumental haul in return.

“If the Cowboys want him, you know what – fleece the Cowboys. What I would tell [Adams] right now, if I were the general manager, is, ‘You know what? Prove to me you’re invaluable. How are you invaluable to me now?’ … You’re on a team that hasn’t had a winning season yet … If you’re losing with a player, he’s not invaluable. You’ve already lost with him. If he’s winning, you don’t wanna lose him. I understand that.”

Adams has played all but two games in his 3-year career, and despite his immense individual success, since Adams was drafted, the Jets have gone 5-11 in 2017, 4-12 in 2018, and 7-9 in 2019.

Regardless of the Jets’ stance that they will not trade their superstar safety, Adams’ list of teams became a hot topic on Friday morning, as evidenced by Francesa, who immediately mentioned the Dallas Cowboys.

Shannon Sharpe, however, is no fan of Adams landing in Dallas, mainly because it would make it even more difficult for the Cowboys to sign their franchise quarterback Dak Prescott, who is currently asking for a big contract.

“How you gonna trade for him, and then give him the money and you got Dak [Prescott], that’s been there for four years? Dak will never come to camp. Dak will say, ‘You know what, Jerry? I’m done. I’m out. Forget y’all. That would be the last straw …  I think [Adams] is a good safety but I don’t think he’s the best safety in the league … If I’m the Cowboys and I sign him, how does that get me closer to signing Dak Prescott? No. No. No.”

But, does Dallas actually need Adams?

During the 2020 offseason, cornerback Byron Jones – a Pro Bowler in 2018 – left Dallas to join the Miami Dolphins in free agency. As of today, the Cowboys’ four starters in the secondary are strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, free safety Xavier Woods, and cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Trevon Diggs.

The four starters have one Pro Bowl appearance between them: Clinton-Dix in 2016.

On Friday, ESPN’s Field Yates explained why Dallas would be a good fit – financially and schematically – for Adams, who happens to be a Texas native

The Cowboys’ two projected starting safeties are scheduled to be free agents next offseason, and Adams is a massive upgrade to their personnel. He fits in basically any defense, which makes the financial part of this equation that much more pertinent: Dallas — even with a potential Dak Prescott mega-extension — can make this work with its cap.

If the Cowboys were to land Adams, they would have to shell out some serious dough to keep him, which the Jets don’t appear willing to do — at least not yet, considering New York has him under contract for next season at $3.5 million and at $9.9 million for the following season.

Currently, the NFL’s highest-paid safety is 2-time Pro Bowler and 2018 First-Team All-Pro selection Eddie Jackson, the Chicago Bears’ fourth round pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, who is making $14.6 million per season.

While the knock against Adams might be that the Jets haven’t found much success since his arrival, New York’s defense did rank 7th in the NFL last season, after ranking in the bottom eight in the league in both 2017 and 2018.

In 2019, Adams’ team-leading 6.5 sacks were first in the league among all non-defensive linemen and non-linebackers. His 75 tackles were tied for second on the team, and his 13.5 tackles for loss, 7 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles led the Jets.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that stats and money aside, Adams means more to the Jets’ future than just being an All-Pro player, which is why New York should sign him to an extension.

“When you talk about culture-building, how can you not love Jamal Adams? How can you not value Jamal Adams? How can you not look at him and see that this is the type of culture it takes to build a winning program?

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Ryan Clark agreed with Smith.

“This comes down to him being the ultimate leader for the New York Jets. This team isn’t led by Sam Darnold. This team goes as Jamal Adams goes.”

We’ll see if Adams’ leadership on the field inspires the Jets’ leadership to pay their defensive superstar.

If not, it could lead to Adams forcing his way right out of New York.

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