The contract impasse between Jamal Adams and the Jets may be at a full boil these days. It’s led the All-Pro safety, under contract through the 2021 season, to seek a trade. The club, however, isn’t inclined give up a star player who, in 14 games last season, finished among the team’s three best in tackles, sacks, tackles for a loss, passes defended and forced fumbles.
“I think the world of him," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Thursday on a conference call. “I've had a chance to coach a lot of really good players, some already in the Hall of Fame, many others who are going to go in the Hall of Fame. He's going to have a legitimate chance, staying healthy, to be one of those guys that we're all talking about.”
Williams wasn’t about to throw in his opinion about the stalemate, simultaneously expressing full faith in the Jets’ front office and saying of Adams, “I’ve got his back.”
But asked about the prospect of losing the 24-year-old, Williams said “he has to handle his contract. He'll do all that kind of stuff. He's doing those things. We always have to have the next man up philosophy (but) I'm hoping everything goes well. I love coaching him.”
If Adams doesn’t get the trade he seeks, he could hold out, though he will quickly risk fines of $40,000 per day and eventually risk losing a year of service time.
Defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson – who has coached Adams since he was the Jets’ first-round pick out of LSU in 2017 – has little doubt that should he arrive for the scheduled July 28 training camp, the offseason drama will not interfere with his play.
“He will be unfazed. I’m not worried about him coming back and having distractions,” Wilson said. “Jamal loves football and when he gets on the grass and he's ready to play he's going to do everything in his power to be at the best of his ability . . . When Jamal shows up, Jamal will be more than prepared and will do his job and he will do his job to the best of his ability.”
Williams said he and Jets will do everything to facilitate that.
“I want him to feel good about everything that's going on,” Williams said. “He knows when he gets inside the door and inside the white lines, there's a chemistry that's outstanding.”
Williams highlighted to reporters one play he felt exemplified some of the aspects that make Adams so exceptional and – given his passion to compete – such a valuable player. It was in a Week 8 game at Jacksonville and Adams went nearly 70 yards to pull down Leonard Fournette from behind on a breakaway before he could reach the end zone. He called it “one of the best plays I’ve ever seen and it will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
“He has that ability not only play as a defensive back — a safety position — but he has the ability to play like a linebacker,” Williams said. “He has the ability to play like a rusher. He has the ability to play like a run-stopper. So his multidimensional abilities to play the game allow you to move him around for the other team to try to find him. . . . [And] he’s smart. He’s able to handle multiple things. He’s able to handle multiple directions of what has to happen in the flow of a game.”
With regard to defensive end Quinnen Williams, who the Jets took with the third pick on the 2019 draft out of Alabama, Gregg Williams said the Jets expect “to see a big jump in his production and in his play.” He revealed that Quinnen Williams battled with a painful high ankle sprain last season . . . Special teams coach Brant Boyer said it will be a “true competition” between former Cowboy Brett Maher and incumbent Sam Ficken for placekicker.