New York Jets positional preview 2021: Secondary

What does the post-Jamal Adams era look like for a New York Jets secondary riddled with free agents? ESM investigates.

The Position: Secondary
On the Roster: Bless Austin, Corey Ballentine, Javelin Guidry, Bryce Hall, Lamar Jackson, Elijah Campbell, Sauqan Hampton, Ashtyn Davis, J.T. Hassell
Free Agents: Marcus Maye, Brian Poole, Arthur Maulet, Bradley McDougald, Matthias Farley, Bennett Jackson, Kyron Brown
Reserve/Future: Zane Lewis

The Jamal Adams roller-coaster finally returned to the loading station for the last time over the summer, as the disgruntled defender was dealt to Seattle. As far as the Jets are concerned they won’t have to think about Adams again, at least for the time being, until the Seahawks visit MetLife Stadium in 2024. The Jets even netted a solid consolation prize in a pair of Seattle first-round picks.

But, a question lingered, almost forgotten in the hullabaloo Adams caused on his way out: what would become of the secondary he left behind?

Leadership duties turned over to Adams’ fellow SEC alum and 2017 draftee Marcus Maye, who took full advantage of a new year in the spotlight. Maye set new career-bests in almost every major defensive category and ensured the Jets at least appeared in the SportsCenter Top 10 with a pair of jaw-dropping interceptions. His efforts were rewarded with the 2020 Curtis Martin Team MVP Award.

But Maye is set to be a free agent this spring and the situation behind him is quite murky. Injuries prevented some of the Jets’ defensive youngsters from taking the next step in their development, though some (like fifth-round rookie cornerback Bryce Hall) managed to make the most of their opportunities.

It’s great to see the Jets managed to make something of an ugly situation, vis a vis Adams’ departure. But it’s going to mean nothing if they can’t settle their own affairs on the homefront.

Free Agents-to-be

Kyron Brown

Brown, who partook in three games (one start) in 2019, spent all of last season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. As an exclusive rights free agent, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a camp opportunity.

Matthias Farley

Farley may be brought back for not only defensive veteran leadership, but for his work on the Jets’ special teams. He held special teams captaincy last season and led the Jets with seven tackles on kickoffs and punt returns.

Bennett Jackson 

The versatile Hazlet, NJ native has partaken in ten games over the past two seasons with the Jets and Ravens after a nearly half-decade absence from regular season action. His versatility, having played both cornerback and safety, could warrant him a new opportunity in green.

Arthur Maulet

Another defender who made his mark on special teams, Maulet possibly earned some brownie points with Jets brass when he did a serviceable job at safety over the final games. It’s possible Maulet could return on a third one-year deal.

Marcus Maye

Shortly after his hiring, new Jets head coach Robert Saleh sang of Maye’s praises.

“I know he’s got a tremendous reputation in the locker room,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “From my understanding, he’s a very, very, very talented young man. And within our scheme, safeties are, obviously, they’re important to everybody, but with how we do things, it sounds like he’d be a very versatile piece.”

In terms of the Jets’ own free agents, Maye would likely be at the top of the list of terms of potential returnees. He probably isn’t worth the Eddie Jackson-numbers that Adams was seeking just yet, but the Jets’ plethora of cap space could make him an intriguing candidate for the franchise tag (circa $10-12 million).

Bradley McDougald

In 2020, McDougald became the answer to a New York sports trivia question, as he’s thus far the only yield from the Adams trade with a name. Unfortunately for McDougald, he failed to make an impact in the secondary was one of those afflicted by injuries (seven games). There’s no doubt that McDougald is talented, and the Jets could bring him back on an affordable short-term deal, though he’d probably have to battle for reps with Ashtyn Davis.

Brian Poole

One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2019 season, Poole was brought back on a second one-year deal and posted solid numbers before the injury bug cost him seven games. Through his time in Atlanta and New York, Poole has developed a strong reputation as a reliable slot defender. He’s more than earned another one-year deal, but, set to turn 29 in October, he might be seeking more long-term stability this time around.

Will They Draft?

It’s probably not a question of if, but when the Jets address their secondary on draft weekend. It also feels like these issues can be addressed as early as one of their Seattle picks at No. 23. Top prospect Patrick Surtain Jr. will likely be gone by then, but former receiver Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech could be around, as well as more of Maye’s fellow SEC options like Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Tyson Campbell (Georgia).

Veteran Possibilities

Richard Sherman, San Francisco

The big difference between the hiring of Adam Gase and the modern arrival of Saleh is the difference in who was praising the moves. When Gase was brought in, it was mostly hot-take artists who felt like Gase was an outside-the-box hire. When Saleh came to town, it was the players who were responding positively to the move. No one’s praises have been louder than Sherman’s from afar, as Saleh has worked with him in their shared NFC West stops in Seattle and San Francisco. Sherman told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that Saleh would ” turn that entire culture around” and he personally congratulated the Jets on Twitter after the move was announced.

This, of course, raises the question…if Sherman is such a big Saleh fan, would be willing to join him in his first head coaching endeavor? Sherman would be a great fit, as the regaining of his trademark brand of smashmouth football, as well as his championship experience, would be perfect for this team to pick up.

Jason Verrett, San Francisco 

The more Niners the merrier, it would appear, as Saleh comes over from the Bay Area and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich represented the team as a player for a decade. That concept will probably only increase as players will seek to gain traction and stability in Saleh’s new schemes. Verrett would a comparable option to Sherman, though he’s younger and potentially more affordable.

Xavier Woods, Dallas

While there’s plenty of talent available in this secondary free agent class, many of them are expensive names that are either past or nearing the end of their prime. Woods is nearing the end of his rookie deal after four serviceable seasons in Dallas, but he struggled in coverage in the Cowboys’ beleaguered secondary. While the Jets truly can’t afford to help someone else pen a redemption story, as they’ve spent a decade trying to write their own to no avail, they could make an exception for Woods and his flashes of potential.

Outlook

Already in a tenuous spot, the Jets need to do something to bolster their secondary in the post-Adams age. Bringing back Maye, even if it’s through a franchise tag deal that would allow them a year of relatively consequence-free football to see if he fits in Saleh’s system, would be a vital first step in achieving that goal. Adding Maye back would also combat the issues of a free agent class relatively deep in experience while giving the youngsters whom the Jets have high hopes for (Austin, Davis, Hall, etc.) a familiar face to work with.

Signing Maye probably isn’t going to become the ultimate difference between the postseason and another trip home in January. But, if they miss out on him, the Jets better have one heck of a backup plan.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: The best No. 23 picks in NFL Draft history

After Wild Card weekend, the New York Jets will pick 23rd in April’s draft, in addition to owning the No. 2 overall choice.

Jamal Adams apparently had one final parting gift for the New York Jets.

With Adams and the Seattle Seahawks falling to the Los Angeles Rams during the opening round of the 2020-21 NFL playoffs, the safety’s former comrades in New York will officially hold the 23rd overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. New York gained the pick in the trade that sent Adams out to the Pacific Northwest back in July. The Jets also hold the second overall pick in this spring’s selection proceedings and will also choose in Seattle’s slot in the 2022 draft thanks to the summer transaction.

With the selection solidified, who are some of the great names chosen at 23rd overall? ESM looks back…

1951: LB Bill George, Chicago

George revolutionized defense in football, often credited as the first “middle” linebacker in the history of the game. His antics are also attributed to the creation of the 4-3 defense, which he used to his advantage to the tune of 18 interceptions during a 15-year NFL tenure. He was named to eight Pro Bowls and first-team All-Pro squads each and also guided the Bears to the 1963 NFL championship. George’s No. 61 is retired by the Bears and was also named to the NFL’s all-decade squad for the 1950s.

1959: OL Dick Schafrath, Cleveland

No matter what happened, Schafrath was probably going to leave an impact on Ohio sports. By the time his high school days were done, he was being actively recruited by the Cincinnati Reds baseball club and Woody Hayes’ Ohio State football program. Schafrath opted for the gridiron, developing a no-nonsese work ethic that earned him the nick name of “The Mule”. He went on to make seven Pro Bowl squad appearances and earn four first-team All-Pro nods over the course of his NFL career (1959-71) before entering politics in 1983. Schafrath would go on to serve over 14 years as a Republican State Senator in Ohio’s 19th District.

1973: P Ray Guy, Oakland

Choosing a punter with the 23rd overall pick seems like a ridiculous notion, but Guy lived up to his billing and then some over a 14-year career with the Raiders organization. He partook in 207 consecutive NFL games and landed 210 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line since 1976 (when the NFL first started tracking such a stat). In 2014, Guy became the first exclusive punter (and first exclusive special teamer since Jan Stenerud) to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, the top honor to the best collegiate punter in the nation is known as the Ray Guy Award.

1978: TE Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland

Though Newsome is perhaps better known for his exploits off the field through his endeavors as the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager and the Byron “Whizzer” White Man of the Year Award, he was one of the most dominant tight ends of the 1980s. Newsome remains the Browns’ all-time leader in receiving yardage (7,980) and receptions (662) and appears as the tight end of the Hall of Fame’s all-decade squad. He would go on to make history in 2002, serving as not only the first general manager of the Ravens but the first African-American in league history to hold the title. Baltimore has won two Super Bowl titles with Newsome in the front office, most recently in 2013.

1983: DE Jim Jeffcoat, Dallas

The New Jersey native (Long Branch) had big shoes to fill in replacing former Super Bowl MVP Harvey Martin on America’s Team. He filled them in rather nicely, becoming a star attraction in some of the leanest years in Cowboys history. Once the team started to started to return to prominence upon the arrival of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Jeffcoat’s dominance rose to a national level, partaking in first two championships of the Dallas dynasty in the 1990s. Jeffcoat retired with 102.5 sacks, one of only 35 defenders to reach triple digits in the category in his NFL career.

1987: T Bruce Armstrong, New England

Armstrong retired just before the Patriots’ dominance began, but he built a strong career as a reliable blocker. Over a 14-year career, Armstrong started all but 12 possible games in a New England uniform, making six Pro Bowls in the process (including one during the Patriots’ run to the Super Bowl in 1996-97). Though he was unable to earn a ring before departing, Armstring’s No. 78 is retired by the Patriots.

1995: CB Ty Law, New England 

Law earned 59 interceptions in his NFL career, none of which were more important than his lone postseason touchdown. His interception of Kurt Warner came during the first-half proceedings of Super Bowl XXXVI, taking it back 47 yards to give the Patriots a lead they would never relinquish against the St. Louis Rams. That score kicked off the New England dynasty in earnest, setting off a streak of six Super Bowl titles over the next decade-plus. Law stuck around for two more of those championships and appears on both the 1990s and 2000s versions of the Patriots’ official all-decade squads. The defender included a brief tour of New York in his Hall of Fame career, earning a career-best 10 interceptions during the 2005 season.

1999: CB Antoine Winfield, Buffalo

Winfield bookended his rookie season by earning an interception of Peyton Manning in his first contest and ended it with a takeaway of Steve McNair during the AFC Wild Card playoffs in Tennessee. After five years with the declining Bills, Winfield made a strong name for himself in Minnesota, earning 22 interceptions and establishing himself as one of the hardest hitters in the league. By the time the 2000s ended, Winfield was one of four players to earn at least 600 tackles, 65 pass breakups, 15 interceptions, and 10 forced fumbles, a brotherhood that also featured Ray Lewis, Ronde Barber, and Keith Bulluck. Winfield would later be named one of the “50 Greatest Vikings” during the team’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010. His son, Antoine Jr., is currently in the midst of his rookie season with Tampa Bay.

2001: RB Deuce McAllister, New Orleans

Injury woes perhaps tragically denied us of the true Deuce McAllister experience. Originally called upon to pick up the Saints’ rushing pieces after the Ricky Williams misfire, McAllister topped 1,000 yards in four of his first six seasons, including a career-best 1,641 in 2003. But two torn ACLs over three seasons ended his career prematurely, forcing New Orleans to turn to the services of Reggie Bush. Though he sat out the entire 2009-10 season, the Saints remembered McAllister’s contributions to the team. He was signed shortly before the team’s Divisional playoff matchup en route to the Super Bowl, serving as the honorary captain for their win over Arizona. McAllister did not play but was allowed to retire with a championship ring when New Orleans won Super Bowl XLIV.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: Is this the end of the road for Jordan Jenkins in green and white?

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Jordan Jenkins has been regarded as the New York Jets‘ best pass rusher for the past few years. Jenkins was rumored to be leaving the team last season, but Jenkins came back for another year under Gregg Williams on a prove-it deal. Jenkins was projected to be the lead disruptor for the team this season. Instead, amongst all the bad on the team this year, his underwhelming performance has flown under the radar.

His Poor Performance

Last season, Jenkins hit career highs in sacks, TFLs, deflections and tied his career high in forced fumbles. He ended the season with 32 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 FFs and 3 deflections. The years before that, in 3 seasons, he showed consistent production increases in his pass-rushing stats. In his rookie year, he put up 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs, and 3 QB Hits. Then, he had a sophomore jump slightly to 3.0 sacks, 5 TFLs, and 9 QB Hits. Then, prior to his big year last year, he had 7.0 sacks, 6 TFLs, and 15 QB Hits. Jenkins was evidently growing and at 26, was projected to be the potential lead pass rusher for the Jets.

Then, this season he has taken a big production hit. In 12 games, Jenkins has 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks, a FF, 2 TFLs, and 6 QB Hits. Jenkins still has 4 games left to take a statistical jump, but he has not been able to replicate any disruption that he shown in previous seasons. Jordan has failed to bring any sense of true disruption in the backfield this season and it is rather concerning. So why did Jenkins take a big dip this season?

Why the dip in production?

Coming into the season on a prove-it deal, Jenkins needed a big year. The thing is, the Jets significantly depleted the resources around him. The Jets most prolific disruptor the past few seasons was Jamal Adams. When Adams was shipped to Seattle, the Jets pass rush took a hit. As one of the leading pass rushers for the team in the past few years, there is a deep background to why he is called, “Blitz Boy” now. In all honesty though, where Adams excelled and still does excel in Seattle is in the pass rush. Teams knew this and worked to prevent him from breaking through. This opened up a huge opportunity for a guy like Jenkins to step up and capitalize off the attention Adams garnered.

Without Adams, Jenkins has drawn a lot more attention from opposing teams this season facing more double teams then he did in past years. Not only that, but the Jets have had some low level secondaries during his time in New York, but this season they have one of their worst yet. Simply put, Jenkins has a lot less time to rush the passer than before and a lot more work to do to get there.

This is in no means an excuse for his dip though, this was purely the reasoning. With that said, the Jets have relied on Jenkins to be a key piece in this defense for the past few years. He has been a leader and a vocal one at that. The thing is, the Jets don’t need a complimentary pass rusher, they need a dominant one. Jenkins deserves to go to a competitive football team and get a chance to succeed. He is a talented piece, he needs help around him to succeed though in terms of an outside pass rush and the Jets don’t have that. The Jets will look to get that kind of player this offseason to capitalize off the massive jump Quinnen Williams has taken with his interior pass rush. However, the Jets don’t need to throw money at a complimentary pass rusher that is not as imperative to success as some other positions. Jenkins deserves to get to play that compliment role elsewhere and the Jets deserve a chance to allocate resources elsewhere.

The New York Jets are proving Jamal Adams right after latest loss

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

In their latest defeat, the most one-sided in the Adam Gase era, the New York Jets fulfilled their former star’s most damning declaration.

Sue Bird, Alysha Clark, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, and the rest of the defending WNBA champions were nowhere to be found in the spectator-free settings of Lumen Field on Sunday late afternoon. Yet, the New York Jets were forced to deal with a new brand of Seattle Storm.

Metropolitan football fans, especially those of the green variety, are no doubt used to gridiron disappointment at this time of the year, but the visit to the Emerald City set new standards for futility. In a day and age of glorified offense, the Jets put a grand total of 13 yards over the final 30 minutes. Had the Seahawks not mercifully pulled their starters in the game’s latter stages, that number could’ve well been in the red, as 28 of those yards came on a meaningless final drive. The ensuing final deficit of 40-3 was also the worst loss overseen by Adam Gase in his two years at the helm. Gase’s tenure has seen its share of unique achievements, albeit ones the Jets never wanted to see fulfilled. Seattle, for example, dealt the Jets (0-13) their 13th consecutive loss, a landmark even Rich Kotite’s doomed bunch managed to avoid.

The quaddrennial matchup with the Seahawks also carried the subplot of the Jets’ reunion with Jamal Adams, who spares no opportunity to talk about just how dreary things got for him as rare beacon of hope in the New York football realm. Adams made the game memorable with his own bit of history, as a first-half sack of Sam Darnold allowed him to take hold of the NFL’s single-season record for sacks by a defensive back (8.5), a record he came tantalizingly close to in his final season in green. Adams was even able to make up for a dropped interception that could’ve led to a touchdown in the first half, a mishap long forgotten when all was said and done.

The historic takedown was part of a showcase for former Jets in the Pacific Northwest, as Damon Harrison, Jason Myers, and Brandon Shell all played major roles in the victory. Even former franchise quarterback Geno Smith came in to complete 4-of-5 passes for 33 yards against a beleaguered Jets defense after Russell Wilson beat them for four touchdown passes.

Adams has spared no opportunity to speak negatively about his time of New York, but was congenial to his former comrades after the final seconds ticked away. He notable shared a hug with Gase, who told the safety to “go get one”, referring to a Super Bowl, according to Adams himself.

“(Gase) told me to go get one. He was talking about a Super Bowl,” Adams said of the exchange, per Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. “A lot of the guys came up to us and I don’t want to blow our guys’ heads up or myself, which I’m not, but they were just saying that we have a great team. And we’ve always believed in that. But he just congratulated me, wished me well, told me to stay healthy.”

Seattle (9-4) currently holds the top NFC wild-card spot and is engaged in a battle with the Los Angeles Rams for the NFC West division title. It’s a stark contrast to his seasons in green, where playoff opportunities were often closed before Halloween, but Adams nonetheless had some friendly words toward his former employers in his postgame statements.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have any hate towards, not even just Gase, toward the organization,” Adams said in another report from Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “Everybody just had different views. We had to move different. We had to take a different leap. Obviously the trade happened and I’m happy to be here. I wish those guys nothing but the best, I really do. I mean that. I know a lot of Jets fans don’t really think I’m coming from the heart, but I really am. I’m thankful for my time over there because I don’t take it for granted.”

Adams’ kind words and well wishes to the Jets at the conclusion of an interconference shellacking could be closure of sorts for a Jets team that had some trouble moving on the early going (the departed Gregg Williams’ claim that Adams would get “bored” in Seattle seems particularly silly). But Sunday’s game showed more or less proved one of Adams’ most damning comments about the Jets correct.

“They do not want to win.” 

It was clear long before Sunday’s kickoff that Adams had the last laugh in the exchange between the two sides, if only because Adams has a chance to play for a Super Bowl while the Jets have been reshuffling their draft board since late September. But, in their futility, the Jets were given a macabre silver lining: the final hours of the woebegone 2020 season gave them a chance to not only conduct free research and development for 2021 and beyond, but they had a chance to play with relative reckless abandon. Free from the relative “burden” of playoff positioning, the Jets could use whatever means necessary to get a win. Sure, it would anger the cult of the No. 1 pick, a fanatical gathering dedicated to losing for the greater good of the ongoing “endeavor for Trevor (Lawrence)”, but former Jets boss Herm Edwards said it best when he declared “you play to win the game”.

Wins themselves, as the Jets have proven time and time again, might be a little too much to ask for at this point in time with the Jets, but they’ve shown they’re capable of strong efforts. This was a team that was, after all, one poorly-timed blitz away from more or less removing the Las Vegas Raiders from the playoff conversation as little as a weekend ago. Fight and resiliency should’ve been words ingrained in the locker room, etched into whiteboards through the facility.

Alas for New York, those qualities never came during their stay at Lumen Field. A week after Ty Johnson and Josh Adams united for 178 yards on the ground against Las Vegas (the Jets’ best rushing game in over two calendar years), Gase resumed his tradition of giving carries to a 37-year-old Frank Gore while the game was still manageable. As the Seahawks’ lead inflated, the Jets had opportunities to cut into their deficit, but opted for Sergio Castillo field goals instead (Castillo’s 1-for-4 day only adding to the Jets’ plight). Granted one last opportunity to escape from Seattle with a touchdown on the final drive, mostly overseen by the Seahawks’ defensive understudies, the Jets opted to instead run the clock out.

All of this has been overseen by Gase, whose New York ledger drops to 7-22, good for a .241 win percentage that’s better than only Kotite amongst Jets coaches who earned at least one full year at the helm. Gase remains on the New York sidelines, outlasting not only several of his NFL contemporaries, but also outlasting accomplished veterans like Le’Veon Bell, Steve McLendon, Avery Williamson, Pierre Desir, and Williams.

Does that sound like a team that’s trying to win games?

Again, no one was expecting a green miracle from the Jets, but the lackadaisical manner in how they’re conducting themselves is troubling from many standpoints. They could, for example, gain clarity on their 2021 run game through Johnson and Adams, but opt instead to give things off to Gore, whose retirement approaches. There are certainly players who are bucking the trend of inactivity…SportsCenter Top 10 mainstay Marcus Maye and backfield invader Folorunso Fatikasi are certainly doing their part…but the Jets are corrupting both their present and future through their modern struggles. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the top overall pick, be it Lawrence, Justin Fields, or an unknown third party.

But the best thing the Jets can do over these last few weeks is glean as many positives as they can before the year lets out while gaining clarity for their future. They’re proving Adams’ propehcy correct. At this point, the Jets look like a team that’s given up on the idea of winning not just in the present, but in the future as well. That needs to change, not even to prove that Adams wrong…that shouldn’t be anywhere near their list of concerns. It’s a matter of personal pride, a desire to change the course of this star-crossed franchise moving forward. That all starts with hanging your head high, going all out in the most dire of situations. The Jets are there, but couldn’t be lower as the season draws to a close.

The Jets seem well-destined to join the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns in the unholy brotherhood of 16-game imperfection. At this point, sympathy can be garnered. They’re overmatched and ready to make changes. The least they can do is make it look like they’re trying to avoid such a fate.

The only scary part for Adams? He and the Seahawks need some help from the Jets. New York’s trek of futility carries on next weekend against another contending foe, battling none other than the Rams at SoFi Stadium next Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Jamal Adams has the last laugh (for now)

Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams’ methods of departure were unconventional, but one look at the current New York Jets shows that he had a point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zip7sTieTRY&ab_channel=NFL

Looking back on the calamity that was 2020, it’s hard to believe that some noteworthy occurrences happened this year. Phenomena like the rebooted XFL, the tweaked NBA All-Star Game, and the world’s uncanny fascination with Netflix’s Tiger King seem like they happened decades ago, but will forever be copyrighted with the insignia of 2020.

New York Jets fans likely feel the same way with Jamal Adams and his turbulent exit.

Surprisingly, it’s been less than a full calendar year since Adams donned the green, black, and white that the modern New York Jets’ uniforms carry. A wet, dreary contest against a Buffalo Bills team resting starters for the playoffs saw Adams register three tackles and a pass breakup in a 13-6 Jets win. Utterly forgettable by every sense of the football imagination, it stands as a gridiron landmark if only because that’s the last time the Jets have been on the right end of an NFL scoreboard.

At the time, few could envision that it would be the last dance for Adams (and Robby Anderson, but the Jets don’t play Carolina until 2021). Adams had avoided addressing the future but certainly implied there was one between him and the Jets by referring to the otherwise meaningless win as “the start of our next season”.

“It’s confidence carrying over into the off-season,” Adams said of the game, per Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com. “Everybody is going to be watching the playoffs and we’re going to have a bad taste in our mouths, but it’s just going to feed us.”

That meal, of course, never came. Apparently miffed at the lack of a long-term contract, Adams went to pretty much napalm every bridge he had left in New York, routinely calling out the organization’s failures since he joined the team as a first-round pick in 2017 and telling anyone who would listen that he wanted out unless a stable contract was presented. The Jets eventually struck a deal with the Seattle Seahawks, sending Adams over for Bradley McDougald and a pair of first-round choices.

But Adams’ true frustrations really seemed to stem from the Jets’ lack of on-field success. He was more than happy to join the Seahawks even when Seattle stressed patience in offering him the desired deal. The ongoing health crisis could’ve well played a role, but the optics made it seem like Adams was turning the Jets into a punchline one last time.

Even when the deal has done, neither side has truly seemed to have gotten over their breakup. A reunion awaits this weekend as the Jets descend upon Lumen Field on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS), and the parting of ways remains fresh on each party’s mind.

Jamal Adams
CREDIT: McManus Designs

It was obvious that Adams’ get-together with his former comrades was going to come up during each side’s weekly availability. Head coach Adam Gase’s comments made headlines earlier this week when he was dumbfounded by the idea of animosity between him and the defender.

“I thought it was good, but obviously he felt different. I don’t know, I never had any poor interactions with him,” Gase said, per Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports. “he was somebody I talked to a lot and communicated with. Just kind of once the offseason hit, that’s kind of where…there’s nothing I can do, I’m not in charge of contracts. I’m not involved in those talks. That’s kind of where his agent and front office guys got to go to work.”

“I knew when we lost how much it hurt him, like I knew that. He’s a competitor, man. He has no interest in coming on the wrong end of the stick in the win-loss column. He feels like he sells out and gives everything he has, and he wants to win. I mean he wants to do everything he can to win.”

Adams spoke later in the week and offered a roller-coaster, maybe even contradictory, statement about his time in New York.

“The guys that make the decisions over there, they just didn’t value me like Seattle does and I appreciate that,” he said, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. “There’s no hard feelings towards them. They had different views. I had a different view, but at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be where I am and I have an organization that believes in me, believes I can get it done, and thinks highly of me. That’s all I can ask for, man. It’s just all about respect for me.”

The defender’s comments have been, and will continue to be, scrutinized to no end. But at this point, no rationally-minded football fan can deny that the last laugh belongs to Adams.

Adams or no Adams, 2020 was going to be a struggle for the modern Jets. Even with expanded playoff real estate, too many established served as roadblocks to the seven-team sweepstakes. But the team nonetheless looked at their future with a sense of immediacy. one look from the Jets’ offseason ledger should’ve told Adams that 2020 was not the time or place to think about a long-term deal. Debate can reign over whether that message was conveyed clearly, but Adams certainly didn’t believe it was, even as the Jets added free agents on a de facto audition-style basis. But what was done is done. There’s no use in looking at what feels like ancient history or analyzing the ins and outs of a deal that will only be complete by 2022 at the earliest.

The best move the Jets could’ve made in the deal’s aftermath was to wish Adams well and focus on their own affairs. Bygones could be bygones…let Adams worry about his past, let the focus be on the future. Alas, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams couldn’t get on board with that.

“Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things with all the complexities, maybe not showing what they’re doing as much as we do,” Williams said per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, taking a shot at Seattle’s propensity for a Cover 3. “We’ll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we’ll highlight the people we have here. As you saw what we did (last season), he had maybe his most productive year here because of how we highlighted the skill set he has.”

In perhaps a bit of irony reserved for the darkest reaches of the popular sports-prognostication-gone-wrong account @OldTakesExposed, Williams is left to brood in boredom while Adams closes in on history.

Adams has served as the closest thing to a consistent silver lining that Seattle has had in an otherwise brutal year defensively in the secondary. Only lowly Jacksonville has let up more yardage through the air than the Seahawks (407.4 per game), whose roller-coaster season has reached a new valley with a loss to the Jets’ blue metropolitan counterparts last weekend. But Adams has carried on his propensity for backfield invasions. In only eight games, he has broken his career-best in sacks set last season in New York with 7.5…a half-takedown short of Adrian Wilson for the most by a defensive back in a single season. The fateful sack could well victimize Sam Darnold with both Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis out on the offensive line and Denzel Mims missing from the receiving corps.

Such a happening would no doubt cause many to break out the “LOL Jets” memes and serve as another bumbling chapter in the Jets’ ongoing trek toward complete 16-game imperfection. It would go well beyond a simple sack, but, if it were to happen, could well personify and fulfill Adams’ most damning comments bestowed to his former green employers.

New York Jets, Jamal Adams
 Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Adams sat down with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden on the latter duo’s All Things Covered podcast in November. In a discussion about his time and falling out with the Jets, Adams admitted he suffered from depression as the losses piled in New York. It was enough for Adams’ father George, himself a former first-round pick in New York (albeit for the Jets’ blue counterparts), to start encouraging Adams’ agent to start looking for greener pastures…ones that didn’t include “Jets” imprinted on his helmet.

“I fought depression in New York,” Adams said on the podcast. “I’m man enough to say it. I came home after a tough loss and just sat in my room in the dark. No phone, no TV. (My dad) hated to see me like that. It killed my pops so much.”

“Rebuild” became a dreaded buzzword. The aforementioned win over Buffalo was commemorated with a locker room celebration as it allowed the Jets to finish 7-9…unacceptable elsewhere, but a cause for jubilation in New York, which had reached such a summit for only the second time over the last six full seasons.

Admas’ biggest takeaway? “They do not want to win”.

“Money’s a plus, but I love the game of football,” Adams said. “I love what I do … I was sick of hearing ‘the rebuild year’,” Adams continued. “I was bringing the juice back to the Jets,” Adams said. “I simply told them, ‘Hey man, if you guys want to keep me here to be a Jet for life, let’s sit down and talk. This is after the fact they told me, ‘We wanna offer you an extension. I felt like I was being disrespected.”

“Let’s be honest, the Jets were the laughingstock. (Seattle) is how the NFL is supposed to be. This is the dream I was dreaming.”

Williams’ ousting is the latest move of an ongoing purge that should continue well into the Jets’ offseason. Among those who went before him were Adams’ fellow defensive starters like Avery Williams, Steve McLendon, and Pierre Desir. Le’Veon Bell was cast away from the offense through an outright release months after little, if any, attempt was made to keep Anderson, who’s now a beacon in the Carolina’s more organized rebuild. All the while, Gase, who has had to snuff out rumors of in-fighting between him, Adams, and Bell, continues to oversee the operation, somehow inching his way closer to the upper half of the league’s longest-tenured coaches. His ousting could well come after yet another meaningless Week 17 game, this one coming in Foxboro against the Patriots on January 3. But considering all the names the Jets have given up on before they gave up on Gase, his firing feels anything but certain.

Does that sound like a team that wants to win?

Seattle winning the early portions of this trade was likely to be expected. McDougald, who spent a majority of this season injured, is the only piece of the Adams trade with a name so far, as the Jets are set to choose twice in each of the next two opening draft rounds after acquiring Seattle’s picks. Adams was the perfect piece for a team on the cusp of the Super Bowl to add, and he’s doing what he can to help his new cause. In Seattle, seven wins is a step, not a destination.

But, through their play, the Jets are proving Adams right, almost writing their own warning for any big-name talent that want to join their cause through free agency or the draft.

The Jets’ first step in yet another reset must be to prove Adams wrong. That, more than likely, won’t involve victories in the early going. If the heartbreak against Las Vegas from last weekend proved anything, it’s that the Jets really couldn’t care in the slightest about the concept of tanking. If anything, they should continue to use these final four weeks to build any positives and complete their offseason shopping list for yet another reset.

If it proves Adams wrong in the process…well, they’ll take any kind of victory they can get at this point.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Week 13 matchup with Seahawks would be favorable for Daniel Jones if healthy

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are uncertain of their starting quarterback’s status heading into Week 13. During the team’s crucial Week 12 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Giants lost quarterback Daniel Jones with a hamstring injury. Jones has not practiced this week, but is likely to practice in some capacity on Friday with the hopes of playing in Sunday’s matchup with the Seahawks.

If Daniel Jones is not ready to play by Sunday, that would be a huge loss for the New York Giants. New York is set to play the formidable, 8-3 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. This would be a tough game for the Giants to win anyway, but Daniel Jones could have given New York a real shot.

The Seattle Seahawks’ defense is one of the worst in the NFL. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to tear their secondary to shreds, week after week. It is hard to imagine Colt McCoy continuing that trend, though. But Daniel Jones has really improved his play in recent weeks and will be looking at a favorable matchup on Sunday if he is able to play.

The Seattle Seahawks Secondary

The Seattle Seahawks’ secondary is allowing, by far, the most passing yards per game in 2020. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 328.8 yards per game against Seattle this season. This is happening despite the team’s key acquisition of star safety Jamal Adams.

Jamal Adams has not had the huge impact on this defense that many expected him to. He has allowed a 76.9% completion percentage in coverage this year and surrendered 330 total yards in 7 games this season. He is also missing tackles at a higher rate than he ever has, posting a 13.0% missed tackle percentage. Adams has earned an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 63.9, indicating a clear regression in performance from last season. In 7 games this season, Adams has surrendered 20 completions. In 14 games last season, he surrendered 21 receptions.

The Seahawks’ secondary has struggled all season long. Seattle is allowing opposing offenses to score 27.6 points per game. This could have been a big week for Daniel Jones, who has come into his own in recent weeks. Daniel Jones has not turned the ball over in the Giants’ last three games. Playing his best football, it would  be an exciting matchup for Jones as Seattle owns the league’s worst secondary in the NFL.

If Daniel Jones is healthy enough to play on Sunday, the Giants absolutely should let him play. Of course, there are risks that come along with that. Letting Jones play this week risks him reinjuring his hamstring and being out an even longer period of time. But if Jones is able to play against this terrible Seahawks secondary, he could lead the Giants to a potential upset. New York is racing a tight race to the playoffs right now. They need to get as many wins as they can and do everything they can to obtain these wins. One can only hope that Daniel Jones is healthy enough to play against a week Seattle defense on Sunday.

Report: New York Jets in on Yannick Ngakoue sweepstakes

New York Giants, Yannick Ngakoue

Well, this is something. The New York Jets are reportedly “deeply involved” in talks with the Jaguars for the services of Yannick Ngakoue per Michael Lombardi. The former exec previously reported he foresees a deal occurring for Ngakoue very soon. Ngakoue has been a rumored trade candidate all offseason, and could finally be heading to a new location. Ngakoue heading to New York would change the organizational landscape.

What It Would Mean

Adding Yannick would absolutely reshape the defense. For starters, the Jets would have their first true pass rusher in years. At just 25, Yannick has barely scratched the surface of what he could be. In just four seasons, Yannick has 122 tackles, 37.5 Sacks, 14 Forced Fumbles, 42 TFLs, and 2 INTs. Yannick is an absolute freak who would be an impact player immediately.

Not only that but adding a pass rusher like Yannick changes the way opposing offenses game plan for this defense. This then allows guys like Jordan Jenkins, who’s always been better suited as a number two pass rusher, to truly flourish. You’d also see a guy like Quinnen Williams, who’s already showing an impressive level of growth in training camp, take a huge step up with less attention on him. The whole defense would benefit from a pass rush. The weak secondary would be able to be masked all the more. Most of all, Yannick would bring the star-like presence that the Jets lost just a few weeks ago in the Adams trade.

Will It Happen?

It remains to be seen if Douglas will pull off such a deal. The move seems out of character for him on the surface. However, Douglas is the kind of negotiator capable of magic, as seen in the Adams deal. The rumored compensation is a 2nd rounder. If the Jets can walk out of this deal without parting with a first and get Ngakoue, then Douglas deserves a statue. Not only that but then they can keep those firsts for a draft that will likely be very interesting without college football in the fall. The move would be great, so hopefully, it’s not just a report with no true grounds. 

New York Jets: Let bygones be bygones with Jamal Adams

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Since he was shipped to the other side of the country, the New York Jets can’t let the memory of Jamal Adams linger.

If the start of training camp is any indication, the modern New York Jets may resemble the forgotten 2012 blockbuster The Bourne Legacy. Despite trying to move on with a fresh face of the franchise…Sam Darnold may well be the Jets’ Jeremy Renner in this scenario…the project may doomed to spend its runtime living in the shadow of its star attraction’s departure.

In this edition, the role of Matt Damon/Jason Bourne will be portrayed by Jamal Adams…except there’s more than likely no reunion tour coming four years later.

Jets representatives are emerging from isolation as training camp and Adams is the one name on their minds. The most prolific name of the Jets’ late 2010s offerings demanded his way out of New York and now begins his own training camp proceedings with the Seattle Seahawks. Yet, his prescience hasn’t truly left One Jets Drive.

Part of the lingering Adams sentiment obviously stems from modern times, as the Jets join the NFL in trying to navigate its way through the ongoing health crisis. Chances to speak to the Jets have been scarce compared to a normal offseason and the local media pounced on any opportunity to ask the defenders Adams left behind about his turbulent departure.

“That’s a situation between him and his party and the guys upstairs,” Adams’ former secondary companion Marcus Maye said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Obviously, he was my running mate for three years, a hell of a player. He was looking for other things. I guess they had to part their ways.”

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was the most vocal about the former safety, to the point of starting a war of words with Adams’ new employers in the Pacific Northwest.

“Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things with all the complexities, maybe not showing what they’re doing as much as we do,” Williams said per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, taking a slight shot at Seattle’s Cover 3 setup. “We’ll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we’ll highlight the people we have here. As you saw what we did [last season], he had maybe his most productive year here because of how we highlighted the skill set he has.”

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Both Adams himself and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has since responded to Williams’ comments with a more direct jab at the long time defensive coordinator. Time will only tell if the bad blood makes it to the teams’ scheduled get-together in December.

But any flare-ups, references to Adams, or unnecessary rekindlings of the New York-Seattle rivalry that has been dormant since the 2001 ALCS is the last thing that the Jets need. Thus, it’s time to let Adams go.

As more Jets take to the practice fields, questions will continue to rise about Adams’ impact on the team or lack thereof. His ex-compatriots on the secondary will be asked how much they’ll miss him. Answering those questions is fine, but they can’t do what Williams did and start a verbal scuffle on the other side of the country. Once the first few practices of the post-Adams experience commence, the Jets need to focus only on New York…the green side of it, anyway.

“I’m not going to give a gauge on that, but hopefully we’re pretty (expletive) close,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said in another report from Costello when asked about how close the Jets are to a breakout. “It’s ultimately up to us to decide whether to go out and do it. All the talking is done. It’s time for us to go out and do it.”

Jenkins is exactly right: only the Jets can control their future fortunes. Adams has nothing to with it. Let’s act that way.

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins
 (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Williams has been a rare, silver lining in this infantile era, one that has had Jets fans and players alike ready to run into a brick wall. But going after Adams reeks of sour grapes, which is the last thing they need this season.

This 2020 campaign is going to present new, and hopefully temporary, challenges for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. The Jets are a team starting to open a new decade on the right note. Their infamous moniker of “same old Jets” has been earned through not just losing, but losing through ways that are entirely avoidable and over-the-top. Pining after Adams and trying to get in the last word is the type of move that can define a season and set things off on the completely wrong foot.

Even without the challenges of working through a global health crisis, this was going to going to be a season that’d be awkward for the New York Jets. Making the playoffs was going to be a challenge, even with an extra invitation being sent out to each conference. This was going to be a year for the Jets to find themselves, a chance to build for the future, a chance for players, many of whom are on affordable single-year contracts, to prove why they should be allowed to stay for the (potential) glory days ahead. There may be heavier consequences for some…a make-or-break year for Adam Gase isn’t one for Sam Darnold…but there’s still a chance to earn mini-celebrations through development and growth.

This year, if and when we’re allowed to complete it, is a chance to prepare for a new decade, for a future. The last thing the Jets can afford to do is spend its first chapter fixated on the past.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Adam Gase sounds reinvigorated and ready to change the narrative in 2020

New York Jets, Adam Gase

New York Jets‘ head coach Adam Gase has had a rough offseason. After finishing the season 6-2, the Jets went into the offseason with high hopes for the future. With Sam Darnold getting another year playing in Gase’s system, the return of two defensive leaders in C.J. Mosley and Avery Willamson, and the entire coaching staff returning, continuity was a big theme.

That continuity took a big hit when Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, two of Darnold’s best weapons, ended up leaving (for two different reasons) New York. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Then, Jamal Adams went on his campaign against the Jets organization with multiple public outcries and an exclusive with the Daily News that shined a light on the organizational instability and internal hypocrisy. The hypocrisy was directed towards Gase, who Adams said openly, never would talk to the team, or make adjustments. He delegated that to assistant coaches. Being able to admit when you’re wrong and make adjustments is what makes a good coach. When you fail to do that or fail to even address your team on your level, you not only lose the respect of the players, but you also build a culture of incompetence. That’s exactly what he’s done.

So, Gase’s reputation took a massive hit with the Adams saga, but then he was traded, and brighter days seemed to loom large. Then, the perspective captain of the defense in the wake of the Adams’ trade, Mosley, opted out for the safety of his family and himself. Now, the Jets defense will play this season without presumably, their two biggest stars.

The New York Jets might have a different version of Adam Gase this year:

When Adam Gase took the podium this week, one thing struck out to me that signaled a potential change of heart… accountability. Rumors swirled this offseason about tension between the Jets and one of their biggest offensive stars, Le’Veon Bell. Gase did something that has been a rarity in his career, take accountability for the way last season went, as he said:

“‘You’ve got make sure you’re using him the right way and making sure that we’re getting him to 16-plus games and not grinding him out, Last year, I feel like I did a bad job at the beginning of the season. I was really trying to get him going, and at the same time, teams kind of knew what we were doing and they were loading up the box and he was taking some shots. I’m sure that wore on him as the season went on.’”

This was a real big issue last season, as Bell was supposed to be the focal point of their offense. It was evident last season that Bell was struggling for a few reasons, poor blocking, fatigue as the season wore on, and poor game planning. If Gase is serious about working to make sure Bell takes more effective rushes, that can change the offense.

The offensive line is presumed to be improved with the overhaul, and Bell has been a gym rat and will hopefully be more physically ready for this season than last year, so those areas should improve. If Gase steps up like he says he plans to, that can not only change the rushing attack but rather the whole offense, and this was an offense that ranked in the bottom half of the league. Change is needed, and that change could be accountability by Gase. Still, actions speak louder than words, and if Gase can’t truly improve this season, then that needed change could be a new head coach of the New York Jets.

New York Jets: Gregg Williams says Adams “might get bored” in Seattle

Jamal Adams

New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams believes Jamal Adams “might get bored” playing for the Seahawks. He said this in a press conference today, as shown on SNY and SNY’s Jets Twitter account:

Adams played a massive role in the Jets defense. He was a hard-hitter, good tackler and, arguably, their best pass-rusher. Across three seasons and 46 games played in New York, he totaled 266 tackles, 12 sacks, 25 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Aside from that, he brought a new life and energy to the defense. Now, in Seattle, he isn’t the alpha. Bobby Wagner still has exclusive rights to that title.

The Seahawks have had their fair share of star safeties in past years, such as Earl Thomas III and Kam Chancellor. They were star safeties without a doubt, but they weren’t used the same way Adams is used to. He’s used to being the best pass rusher and best player on defense. If he expects to be the number one guy making plays, he’ll probably be in store for another story.

If Jamal Adams expects to be used the same was he was in green and white, then yes, he might get bored. However, if he is there strictly for wins, then he won’t be. One thing is for sure, it’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to being a Seahawk.

 

Photo edit credit: McManus Designs