Jets safety Jamal Adams said general manager Joe Douglas has told him the team would be willing to trade him before the season if there is a good enough offer from another team, according to a published report Friday.
The disgruntled safety told the Daily News that he had “mixed feelings” about the latest development in his ongoing contract dispute with the team, but that “at the end of the day, my happiness is more important. I know my worth. I’m going to stand on my beliefs. I’m going to stand on who I am as a person, and I’m not ever going to change who I am for somebody who’s judging me. Either you accept me for who I am and you work with me and support me, or you don’t. It’s OK if you don’t.”
Adams, who had an All-Pro season in 2019 and is entering his fourth season, has expressed the desire for a new contract. Douglas said at the scouting combine in February that he wanted Adams to be “a Jet for life,” but the two sides have not engaged in serious negotiations for a new deal. Adams is under contract through the 2021 season, and the Jets have the right to designate him as their franchise player in 2022, meaning they control his contractual rights for the next three seasons.
Adams also criticized head coach Adam Gase and cited his relationship with Gase as a factor in wanting to leave the organization.
“I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land,” Adams said. “As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building. At the end of the day, he doesn’t address the team. If we’re playing [poorly] and we’re losing, he doesn’t address the entire team as a group at halftime. He’ll walk out of the locker room and let another coach handle it.”
Adams, who said he will report to the team when veterans are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, told the paper that Douglas said earlier in the year he would begin contract negotiations during the offseason but that the GM backed off that plan as the weeks and months went by. Douglas eventually told Adams that the team preferred to wait until next offseason to engage in talks on a new deal and to “monitor him” to determine his loyalty to the franchise.
“It was very insulting,” Adams said. “I bust my [butt] for that organization every day. For them to say that to me, I was like, ‘OK … Whoa! That was a little bit too far.”
The Jets have not commented on the story.
While the Jets have not publicly questioned Adams’ loyalty, officials within the organization may be leery of the safety’s frequent complaints about his contract and some cryptic public comments about wanting to leave the team. Last month, a video surfaced showing Adams, driving in a parking lot near his offseason home near Dallas, responding to a fan who asked if he will end up playing for the Cowboys, Adams’ favorite team growing up. “I’m trying, bro,” Adams said.
Earlier this week, Adams expressed his thoughts about a story on Jets owner Woody Johnson, who is under investigation for allegedly making inappropriate remarks about women and minorities in his role as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Johnson has denied the allegations. Adams wrote on social media, “We need the right people at the top. Wrong is wrong.”
As for Jets fans, many of whom have expressed frustration that Adams wants out, he expressed appreciation for their passion.
“If they don’t like something, they speak about it, just like I speak about it,” Adams said. “I have nothing but love and respect for Jets fans. They’re some loyal fans as far as sticking with the team. Showing up to games, wearing jerseys. I respect it. But when an organization starts to disrespect you like this, it’s just time to move on, and it has nothing to do with the fans.”
It’s uncertain whether Douglas would be able to pull off a trade that would be acceptable in terms of draft-choice compensation or the acquisition of veteran players. While some teams, including the Ravens, Seahawks and Cowboys, have a need at safety, there has so far been nothing serious enough for Douglas to consider moving on from Adams.
In the meantime, the acrimonious relationship continues as training camp is just days away.