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With no long-term Jets deal, Marcus Maye to focus on his job as safety

Marcus Maye of the Jets gets ready for

Marcus Maye of the Jets gets ready for a day of training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. on Saturday. Credit: James Escher

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Marcus Maye was hoping for a new long-term contract from the Jets by the July 15 deadline. When they couldn’t come to terms it left the safety disappointed and frustrated.

Maye said it never really got close. He will play his fifth and perhaps last season with the Jets on a franchise tag that will pay him $10.6 million.

"From my end I was hoping, hoping to get things done and get settled," Maye said following practice on Saturday. "But we didn’t get to that point, so I guess I left it that date and kept it moving."

Maye said it wasn’t easy to just put it behind him, but he loves playing football. He said wasn’t going to let the business side of football "take my joy."

"It was tough," Maye said. "But once I took it for what it was, looked at the business aspect of it, I’m here to play football at the end of the day. So that’s what I’m going to do at the best of my ability."

Maye is the longest-tenured Jet and coming off his best season as a pro. He was voted the Jets MVP last year by his teammates.

The Jets valued him enough to put the franchise tag on him, which will make him the sixth-highest paid safety in the NFL this year. But the talks between general manager Joe Douglas and Maye’s agent never really progressed toward a deal.

Something similar happened with former Jets safety Jamal Adams, who is one of Maye’s closest friends. When extension talks went nowhere with Adams last year, he requested a trade and publicly criticized Douglas for how he handled the negotiations. Douglas traded Adams to Seattle last July.

Maye is close to Adams. He said they speak all the time. But Maye is unlikely to take a similar approach as Adams. It’s not his personality. He was asked whether the Jets were fair or unfair during his negotiations.

"Somewhere in the middle," Maye said. "But from my end I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t satisfied."

When asked specifically if he would request a trade, Maye responded, "I got 17 weeks to be the best that I can be and once we get to that point, we’ll cross that line then."

Yet Maye indicated he would like to remain with the Jets.

"Yeah, I mean, wherever I’m welcome," Maye said. "I was drafted here. I’ would love to be here."

This was the first time Maye has spoken to the media since last season. He didn’t participate in the voluntary offseason program while the contract was still unsettled, but he attended the mandatory mini-camp.

Maye feels he’s one of the best safeties in the league, and should be paid as such. Denver put the tag on Justin Simmons and then reached a deal on a five-year, $61 million contract.

Despite being disappointed, Maye said it didn’t change the way he came into camp or how he approaches this season, and he’s not out to show the Jets’ hierarchy he deserves a big new contract.

"I always have the same approach: go out and be the best that I can," Maye said. "I’m not here to prove anybody right or wrong. I’m here to prove myself right, put in the work, let my play do the talking."

Maye had nothing but positive things to say about new coach Robert Saleh, who has been equally complimentary toward the veteran safety.

"Marcus has been impressive," Saleh said. "Having the interaction now and being able to talk to him he’s a tremendous young man. Really looking forward to working with him. He is talented."

Maye is looking forward to a big season and more wins than past years. A good season could get him the deal he’s looking for from the Jets or another team. But there is also the possibility that the Jets could slap the franchise tag on Maye again next year.

"That’s their decision," he said. "When we get to the point, we’ll see."

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