By Lenn Robbins
Same old Jets.
This is the narrative most Jets fans have heard their entire lives. Every time it seems as if professionalism and success has found directions to the franchise headquarters in Florham Park, the GPS has malfunctioned.
There have been so many blunders it’s become white noise, like Kardashian Drama or Trump Tweets. Consider this numbing Jets history:
Drafting Ken O’Brien instead of Dan Marino. Marino’s fake spike. Bill Belichick – coach for a cup of coffee. Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble. The Dolphins, Bills and Patriots enjoying success while the Jets floundered. Belichick building a dynasty.
April’s NFL Draft gave Jets’ fans reason to believe there might be new, refreshing narrative. New GM Joe Douglas put the finishing touches on a logical, efficient offseason. He bolstered the offensive line, gave quarterback Sam Darnold a potential No.1 wideout in Denzel Mims and made a strength stronger by loading up on defensive backs.
The last move might prove to be Douglas’s most prescient as he faces his first full blown crisis.
Safety Jamal Adams, arguably the best player on the roster, has requested a trade according to published reports. Adams has been barking for a new deal almost as soon as the ink dried on his rookie contract.
He went ballistic in the fall of 2019 when it was reported that Douglas had answered the phone when teams called to ask about Adams’ availability. In other words, Douglas actually did what a GM is supposed to do.
GM1: “Hey Joe! Stephen Jones here in Dallas. We hear Jamal Adams wants a new contract. Any interest in moving him?”
Douglass: “Hey Stephen. Well, we really like the kid and we’ve got him under club control. What are you offering?”
GM1: “How’s about a No.1 and a future third-round pick.”
Douglass: “Send my regards to your father.”
Imagine if then Minnesota Vikings GM Mike Lynn hadn’t answered the phone when Jimmy Johnson called in 1989, offering a player named Herschel Walker? The Vikings might have won a Super Bowl by now and the Cowboys might not have become a dynasty.
Douglass has been consistent when it comes to Adams’ future with the Jets. He wants the marvelously gifted safety to wear green and white for a life, which is a better sound bite than likelihood in today’s NFL.
Some guy named Brady was just pictured in a Buccaneers jersey. That was the most bizarre image of June until we saw Kellyanne Conway on Fox looking like Megyn Kelly.
Adams, 24, has done things on the field we’ve never seen from an NFL safety. His 12 sacks are the most by any DB in his first three seasons since the stat became official in 1982. He’s been on the field for a staggering 2,999 snaps, third most among DBs. He was named one of NFL.com’s Top 25 players under the age of 25.
And he has a signed contract to play for the Jets.
The Jets own his rights this season, next season and can franchise tag him the following season. It’s never a good idea to alienate a star player but Douglas and the Jets have done nothing of the sort.
Douglas has yet to respond to Adams’s request and, really, there’s nothing to say. If a team comes along with a deal that makes sense – say a first-round pick, a second-round pick and a quality starter for openers – then Douglas has a decision to make.
Until then, he should sit stoically at the poker table like Matt Damon eyeing John Malkovich in “Rounders.” If Douglas likes Oreo cookies (who doesn’t?), he can dunk a couple in cold milk and enjoy an evening snack.
He should not take this public. He should not make this personal. He absolutely, positively, should not hit the panic button and pull a page out of the Bill O’Brien trade playbook.
That’s how the Same Old Jets would have reacted. Douglas has a chance to continue to lay a solid foundation in Florham Park. He should stay the course by building through the draft and handing out financially prudent free agent deals.
It would be great if Adams remained a Jet for life. But it has to be with Douglas in charge. If not, well, Jets fans have seen this movie so often they can repeat the dialogue word for word. The ending never changes.