Jamal Adams wants more money now.
He might first have to be willing to lighten his pockets.
The Jets do not intend to bend to Adams’ request for a trade, which sets up a holdout in training camp. Adams’ public show made it more difficult for the Jets because trade partners now will try to leverage a weaker offer.
“Could argue he should be paid at the top of the market, but he should honor his contract,” a well-connected former NFL general manager told The Post. “I don’t know if there is a market for him equal to his value.”
Talking to Jets fans, Adams posted to Instagram on Friday night: “It’s time to move on. Let it go. Appreciate you guys. No hard feelings. Nothin but luv.”
Here are the five most likely outcomes:
No movement: The most likely option is for each side to call the other’s bluff. If that happens, Adams can miss the first five days of camp (begins July 28) without financial penalty before incurring a fine of $40,000 per day.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, holdout-related fines are split in two categories. Fines are mandatory for veterans but can be subsequently reduced or erased at the team’s discretion for players in Adams’ situation, on Year 4 of a rookie contract.
The bigger deterrent for Adams is he would be in jeopardy of losing an accrued season toward free agency if he fails to report on time. Shrewd unhappy players have long found ways to report to camp to avoid fines while finding other ways out of practicing.
Extension talks begin: The Jets realize it is Adams’ goal to eclipse the Bears’ Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million per year) and/or the Redskins’ Landon Collins ($44.5 million guaranteed) as the highest-paid safety.
But an ESPN report suggests interested teams are under the impression Adams wants to share rarefied air ($20 million per year) with top pass-rushers, which would point to hopeless negotiations. Adams’ inflated self-assessment was on display in the fall when he compared himself to untradeables Tom Brady and Aaron Donald.
Any understood timeline for contract discussions was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Games without fans could cost the league $3 billion in revenue and canceled games will be even more costly, which would in turn lower the salary cap for 2021 instead of the annual $10 million-$12 million increase per team. So, teams are proceeding with caution, leaving top free agents unsigned in June.
This sounds like caving to what Adams wanted for months. Except now it is more of a logical compromise for the Jets to speed up their thinking as Adams returns to the fold.
Jets, Adams’ agent seek trades: Unless the Jets give Adams’ agent permission to seek a trade, only the team can field offers. Anything else is punishable under tampering rules. So far, the Jets have not relinquished control.
With Trent Williams, the Redskins didn’t, did and then didn’t again give him permission to seek a trade before he was dealt on their terms, after sitting out all last season.
Adams already has a list of eight preferred landing spots, per ESPN, including some where he would ease off his immediate contract demands. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause or any say in his destination unless he is going to refuse to play for a team and incur fines, so this strong-arming just creates more bad blood.
‘Band-Aid’ contract: Flashbacks, anyone? Darrelle Revis popularized this term to describe the agreement that ended his 35-day holdout from the Jets in 2010, when he still had three years remaining on his rookie contract.
The two sides agreed to buy time masked behind a four-year, $46 million deal for salary-cap purposes. They never saw eye-to-eye and Revis was traded in 2013.
Adams is owed $13.4 million over the next two years. The Jets have the salary-cap flexibility to raise his 2020 and 2021 salaries without committing to a huge signing bonus so it is not detrimental to the future cap if they have to move on in a couple years.
Adams relents: Melvin Gordon is a cautionary tale, after his failed 2019 holdout resulted in lost playing time and accepting a smaller offer in free agency than he turned down before going to battle with the Chargers.
The five highest-paid defensive players in the NFL all played at least four seasons on their rookie contract. The top two, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, held out going into Year 5, not Year 4. Adams is challenging the system.
Adams was drafted by the old Jets regime and his trust in the new front office is shaken because he hasn’t received an offer as a starting point, a source said. So, this path seems least likely.
The Jets got one contract done Friday, agreeing with second-round wide receiver Denzel Mims on a four-year, $5.4 million deal. Rookie contracts are subject to a slotted wage scale with little room for negotiation.