Death, taxes, the Jets can’t keep great players happy.
Nothing new in the Meadowlands as the Jets have another unhappy superstar. With Darrelle Revis and Sheldon Richardson not too far in the rearview mirror, the Jets have Jamal Adams who is unhappy and wants a trade. Considering how poorly the franchise has been run over the course of the last decade, this should come as no surprise. Not all hope is lost Jets fans, as it appears that Joe Douglass is the guy to right the ship but can he convince Jamal Adams to want to remain a Jet? That is a big question that will be answered in time.
In asking for a trade, Adams identified 7 teams that he would be willing to go to: Kansas City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle and Dallas, with the latter seeming to be Adams’ preference.
While none of those teams are the Minnesota Vikings, the question should always be discussed whenever a great player becomes available via trade: Should the Vikings trade for him? Considering the extra draft capital next season along with both Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris having their contracts expire, it is an interesting proposition. In this piece, I will explore the type of player Adams is along with his fit on the Vikings and if they should make the move with the prohibitive cost.
Who is Jamal Adams?
Jamal Adams is without a doubt one of the best safeties in the National Football League. His PFF grade over the last two seasons of 91.0 is second only to Anthony Harris who comes in at 91.6. Adams was used all over the field by Gregg Williams, including using Adams as a pass rusher once every 9.59 snaps, which clocks in at 10.53% of his plays and resulted in 7 sacks.
Not only does Adams have a great pass rush grade at 87.9 but he is really good in pass coverage with a grade of 87.3. He isn’t thought of as a great cover guy, but when he needs to cover, he does a really good job. You won’t ask Adams to be a center fielder, but he can play well out of the slot or in zone coverage.
Adams has the innate ability to read a play and react very quickly and it shows in the above clip. While he only has 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception, allowing only 0.31 yards per coverage snap and a passer rating of 79.1 allowed are both really good. Putting him in a strong safety/linebacker role is where he thrives.
How Would He Fit In With The Vikings?
One of the intriguing things that makes the Vikings a fun option for Adams is how they use their back 7. The corners do blitz occasionally but the safeties and linebackers do a lot of different things, especially with the double-A gap, overload zone blitz and having a safety roam in the box.
When you look at the things that Adams does well, he would blend in very well with the Mike Zimmer defense able to play on both the second level and on the back end. With the Vikings bringing in Dom Capers as a defensive assistant, I fully expect the Vikings to do be a lot more creative when it comes to their blitzes and schemes, utilizing guys like Barr and Hunter in stand up roles, safeties playing on the linebacker level on passing downs and even more unique blitz packages than Mike Zimmer has used.
What Would The Vikings Be Able To Offer?
Bringing in a guy like Adams is a very interesting proposition when it comes to assets. Per Over The Cap, the Vikings have 12.26 million dollars in cap space along with both Smith and Harris as free agents after the season. Acquiring Adams would only be a 3.5 million dollar cap charge for this season and 9.86 million next season, bringing the cap space down to 22 million for the 2021 campaign. Now, all of this is predicated on Adams not signing an extension, something he has said that he won’t mandate with the 7 teams he welcomes a trade to, but the Vikings would likely have to give him one. Adams wants to be the highest paid player on the Jets which would pay him over 16 million dollars per season, which is something the Vikings haven’t been noteworthy of doing. General Manager RIck Spielman has been a master of signing guys to big money deals for below market value, most notably Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Would being wanted and respected be enough for Adams to leave a little bit of money on the table? Highly unlikely, but never say never.
As far as what the Vikings would be able to offer, it starts and ends with including a first-round pick. While the Vikings value the draft more than just about any other team in the NFL, they value dart throws more than just their top round selections. There is also precedent for the Vikings trading away their top selection, having done so trading for Jared Allen in 2008 and Sam Bradford in 2016. What else could the Vikings offer with a first-round pick? Would the Jets still value a guy like Anthony Barr? Barr almost signed with the Jets last offseason before he had a change of heart and came back to Minnesota. A more likely option is adding a third-round pick, which the Vikings are likely to get a compensatory third-round selection for losing Trae Waynes to the Bengals. Another interesting option would be sending Anthony Harris, a second-round pick, and a mid-round selection for Adams. Harris, while a tier below Adams, is an excellent safety and ranks very comparable to Adams as an overall safety. Having a talent like Harris (potentially) locked up on a big deal would be huge for the Jets.
Should The Vikings Make The Move?
A move like this is a franchise altering one, especially for a Mike Zimmer defense, which values the safety opposite Harrison Smith less than any position on the defense. A trade for Adams would signal to me a couple of things:
- They don’t believe they can sign Harris to a long term deal
- They believe Harrison Smith is exiting his prime
Adams would look excellent in purple and gold and bring a versatile and dynamic player to a defense that has lost a lot of talent over the last few months. When the season (hopefully) starts come September, I believe Adams will end up a Dallas Cowboy, but if he were to suit up week one against the Packers at US Bank Stadium, Zimmer would have a ton of fun scheming up crazy looks utilizing Adams against Aaron Rodgers. Plus, what are the two best ways to help weaker cornerbacks? Pressure on the quarterback and great safeties protecting them. Adams can do both at a very high level. Due to the nature of the position, I don’t believe that Harrison Smith is at a point where you can’t rely on him moving forward for the next few seasons which is why I would not trade for Jamal Adams. His presence would make the defense incredible and really fun, but I don’t believe it will be worth the capital considering what the Vikings have to do with the roster moving forward.
It’s not going to happen, but I’m going to have fun dreaming.