Jamal Adams, two-time pro-bowl safety for the Jets, has requested a trade and submitted a list of eight teams that he would like to get traded to. The teams on his list are the Ravens, Texans, Cowboys, Chiefs, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, and Buccaneers. Adams still has 1 year left on his rookie contract as well as a 5th-year team option on top of that. Also, due to cap restrictions that teams may have, Jamal Adams has said he would be willing to wait a year on some of his preferred teams in order to get the deal he wants.
A source also says there are certain teams Jamal Adams is willing to be traded to where he won't request a contract extension, at least right away.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) June 18, 2020
Which of these teams would Jamal Adams best fit into and does that team have enough capital to not only get Jamal Adams in a trade but also pay him long term?
All potential Salary Cap scenarios are sourced from Spotrac.com and tested using the roster-building tool on Spotrac.com
Need: Low Price: Too high
The Ravens already have one of the top defenses in the league. Part of that top defense is arguably the best free safety in the league, Earl Thomas. Jamal Adams is arguably the best young and rising strong safety in the league. Together, they would make a duo that would be unrivaled in the NFL for years to come. Jamal Adams also excels as a high safety in a 2-high set as well so he can easily transition into a double deep zone alongside Earl Thomas. With both Adams and Thomas protecting the back end, it will be extremely difficult to beat them over the top
In terms of cap space, trading for Adams makes almost zero sense for the Ravens. Looking ahead to 2021, the Ravens are projected to have $63 million left in cap space for the year. Ronnie Stanley is their top pending free agent along with their starting center, and four depth wide receivers. The market for Stanley should be between $18-22 per year and if Adams adds another $20 million in cap hit, its easy to see how this move does not make sense. The Ravens also have Lamar Jackson and Orlando Brown Jr. to pay by 2023 and 2022, respectively. Unless the Ravens are willing to sacrifice one of these pending free agents it will be hard to fit Adams under the cap. It could be done by releasing Humphrey and others to make room, but at that point, it would not be worth the cost and the roster would be stretched too thin.
While it is great to dream of a safety duo of Jamal Adams and Earl Thomas, it would be a colossal error on the part of the Ravens to let free agents walk at more important positions on the offensive line to pay a young safety when they already have one of the best safeties in the league. The Ravens would be smart to do their due diligence in their pursuit of Adams but should be one of the first teams to pull out once the bidding starts.
Need: Moderate Price: Slightly too high
The Houston Texans already have a young and rising safety in Justin Reid. Reid’s best asset is his versatility. In his rookie season, he made a name for himself by being a productive box safety for the Texans, but last year he made the transition to the free safety role. The numbers suggest that Reid did not play well in this role. His advanced coverage stats are well-documented and poor, but the film tells another story. Reid had a shoulder injury nagging him all year and he continuously would be in a position to make plays, but was unable to stretch his arm out due to a shoulder brace he was wearing and as a result, the play would slip right from his grasp. This was no more evident than in Week 6 (1 Quarter, 12:09 game clock) against the Chiefs, in which the ball skims the fingertips of Reid’s hands as he is going for the pick and Hill makes the grab for a TD. If it was not for the brace in this situation then Reid would have made the play. Reid would easily be able to slide to the free safety position in order to accommodate Jamal Adams, if necessary.
A Jamal Adams move is not out of the realm of possibility despite the bleak outlook on the cap situation. Most of the Texan’s cap is tied up in contracts that have virtually no guaranteed money left in 2021. The Texans could theoretically have enough cap space to sign all their major expiring free agents in Will Fuller, Gareon Conley, and Zach Cunningham as well as give Jamal Adams his new desired contract all while maintaining enough cap space for a full draft class. The problem with this is that the Texans would absolutely have to release Brandin Cooks, David Johnson, and Whitney Mercilus after this season when their guaranteed money is up. While Mercilus is not an issue, if Cooks or Johnson breaks out, it could backfire on the Texans. That is why it would not be wise for the Texans to trade for Jamal Adams in the event Cooks or Johnson carves a big role in the offense long term.
Need: Extreme—Price: Need to convince Jamal to play entire rookie deal including an option
The Dallas Cowboys have a big need at strong safety, and Jamal Adams may just be the answer. Even with Clinton-Dix in the mix now at free safety the Cowboys do not actually have a strong safety on the roster. They plan to use Xaviar Woods, Donovan Wilson, Dorian Thompson, and Jordan Lewis in some sort of rotation at the spot. Adams, on the other hand, is the perfect pairing for Clinton-Dix on the back end. When Clinton-Dix is single high, Adams can have the freedom to shut down the middle of the field or take out valuable opposing tight ends. Even in a 2-high system, you would not have to put a sub-package in because Adams is more than capable of covering a deep zone for half the field. Adams would also take the pressure off the front-7 for Dallas to produce pressure as he is an excellent Blitzer as well. He had 6.5 sacks last season alone, he really is a menace of the edge.
The cap situation for the Cowboys seems almost impossible to navigate when accounting for Dak Prescott. Assuming Dak’s first-year cap hit would be $31 million and after shedding the salaries of Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Anthony Brown, the available cap was $13 million, just over the cost of an average draft class. The Cowboys would have to find about 12-17 million in cap space in order to give the contract to Jamal Adams that he wants in 2021. If Jamal Adams was open to playing under his 5th-year option in 2021, however, and waiting until 2022 to get paid, then the Cowboys could make room for him in the cap by allowing all non-essential free agents walk in 2022 and bringing cheaper depth pieces to give Adams the deal he wants.
Kansas City Chiefs
Need: No, but the move makes sense Price: if they don’t plan on re-signing Chris Jones, he could be a trade piece
Kansas City is an intriguing option for Jamal Adams. Obviously the main reason he likely wants to go there is Patrick Mahomes, but they also have Tyrann Mathieu. While Adams and Mathieu could easily co-exist and even thrive alongside each other on the football field, this is not the case on the salary cap sheet. By projecting the first year of Mahomes’ deal as a $40 million cap hit, the Chiefs are left with $18 million in cap space with Sammy Watkins and Chris Jones pending free agency. The release of Mathieu with only $2 million guaranteed left, increases the available cap space to $33 million. This gives the Chiefs the option to sign either Chris Jones or Jamal Adams. The Chiefs already have Frank Clark locked up and could offer Chris Jones as the main piece around a trade for Jamal Adams. The Chiefs are in desperate need of pass rush now and Jones is entering his prime soon. No other team has that type of piece that it can give away easily so it does give the Chiefs a leg up in the bidding war.
While releasing Mathieu may not be popular among fans, it is necessary for the Chiefs to cut costs where guaranteed money is low, on top of that both Thornhill and Sorensen have played really well in the free safety role. Sorensen is the perfect aging veteran to mentor the 2nd round pick in Thornhill. Having Jamal Adams underneath Thornhill will be a big boost to his development as well. Thornhill played very well but has had a very concerning injury to deal with throughout the season and may linger into the season as well. Sorensen should be able to fill in admirably when the young Thornhill is injured, however.
Lots of cap space to spend, so why not?
The Seattle Seahawks have a war chest of cap space in 2021. They are at $63 million in cap space to start. Setting aside ~$25 million between K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin, the Seahawks could give Jamal Adams the contract he wants and retain a full draft class worth of cap space. It makes sense on the field as well. The Seahawks currently have Quandre Diggs and Bradley McDougald at the safety spots. Jamal Adams could very nicely fit in for McDougald in the strong safety role and Diggs has been a rising player since his time in Detroit and can certainly hold the back end down with the help of a talent like Adams. McDougald is also a pending free agent at the end of the season so it would be a good time to move on from him by acquiring Adams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
An intriguing option that if managed correctly could put them over the top
Tampa Bay is in ‘win now’ mode more than any other team in the league. Brady and Gronk have 1-2 years left and the worst group on the roster is the secondary by far. Jordan Whitehead at free safety is solid, but nothing special. Charlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both talented corners, but they are raw and young. The Buccaneers also drafted Antonie Winfield Jr. in the draft to develop at the position. I think Jamal Adams could be a great fit in this young secondary as a veteran leader that can help guide the younger players. Winfield could be groomed to replace the aging Whitehead and Jamal Adams could become the strong safety of the future for Tampa Bay. It makes sense and strengthens the position group in more ways than one, but what would it cost?
After setting aside ~$35 million in cap space for pending free agents Chris Godwin and Shaquil Barrett and releasing Ryan Jensen for $10 million in cap relief, the Buccaneers are left with $32 million in cap space. That is enough to sign Adams as well as draftees and fill out the roster. However, Lavonte David remains unsigned in this scenario. The 30-year-old linebacker is a pending free agent, but the Bucs have a great core with Devin White and Barrett so they should let Lavonte walk in order to get cheaper and younger in the secondary. David may even be a trade piece for Adams, but I doubt the Jets want to crowd their linebacker room any more than it already is.
The Eagles have $-51 million cap space left for next season and that is pending all their free agents. The last thing they should be doing right now is acquiring another high salary player. They have a lot of restructuring and releasing to do.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have to pay George Kittle and Trent Williams by the end of the season in order to retain their services. Even if they let Trent Williams go, they still will only have about $20 million in cap space after giving Kittle ~$18 million per year. The 49ers would have to release Dee Ford and another player as well as let all pending free agents including Richard Sherman walk out the door in order to pay Jamal Adams.
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