The Dallas Cowboys wanted stud safety Jamal Adams. Jamal Adams wanted the Dallas Cowboys.
But the New York Jets wanted too much.
The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday, and despite an eleventh-hour push by the Cowboys, Adams is staying put in the Big Apple for the remainder of 2019. It was an anticlimactic period that saw just one deal (Aqib Talib to the Dolphins) materialize. Nothing was more buzzworthy, however, than Adams, a Texas native, potentially returning home to join a playoff contender with Super Bowl aspirations.
Local and national media members painted the chaotic picture. A tease of a tweet from NFL Network’s Jane Slater — who reported, with minutes remaining until the deadline, that Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was meeting with passing game coordinator Kris Richard and safeties coach Greg Jackson — was followed by her coworker, Ian Rapoport, announcing no trade would be consummated.
So, how can something fizzle as quickly as it bubbled?
Simply put, the Jets weren’t letting go of the Pro Bowl defender for less than a king’s ransom. And, even simpler, Dallas wasn’t willing to surrender that level of capital.
Take it from the Dallas Morning News’ David Moore, who was told by a source that the “Cowboys offered 1st round pick to acquire S Jamal Adams from NY Jets but wasn’t enough to get deal done. The negotiations went down to the final seconds.”
Moore continued, “Source added that Cowboys were willing to put together the sort of package Pittsburgh did to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick (a 1st & switching picks on 3rd day) but wouldn’t go to the Jalen Ramsey level (two 1st round picks and a 4th).”
Several media types have echoed similar hearsay, like ESPN’s Todd Archer:
“The Cowboys made a legitimate offer to the New York Jets for safety Jamal Adams, but the asking price was too much for Dallas’ liking and they would not budge,” Archer wrote. “As much as Adams would have helped immediately and into the future, the Cowboys did not want to give up the draft collateral that New York was seeking.”
And ESPN’s Ed Werder:
“The #Cowboys strongly pursued trade for #Jets safety Jamal Adams right to the deadline, according to source,” Werder wrote. “Asked if Jets wanted more than first-round pick, I was told, “Oh, yes.” Dallas willing to give a 1 but teams couldn’t close deal.”
Adams, currently in his third NFL season, has played in 39 games while racking up 236 combined tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. For good measure, he also has 23 passes defensed, doubling his total in that statistical area from 2017 to 2018.
During Adams’ Pro Bowl campaign last year, he posted impressive marks across the board, with 115 total tackles, 12 passes defensed, nine tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. Beyond that, the 24-year-old added on 3.5 sacks and one interception.
The sixth-overall pick of the 2017 draft signed a four-year rookie pact worth more than $22 million. Barring an offseason trade, which is entirely plausible, Adams is scheduled to remain under New York’s control until 2022, his age-26 campaign.
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Jerry Jones Had Been (And Still Is?) Targeting Safety
After Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones landed defensive end Michael Bennett for a conditional 2021 seventh-round choice, he told the Dallas Morning News that he’s seeking safety help — Jeff Heath’s successor, specifically — as the deadline ticked closer.
Jones said nothing is on the table but he told the Star-Telegram that safety will be the area of focus if the Cowboys do make another move, possibly as a replacement for strong safety Jeff Heath.
The weakest link on the Cowboys’ defense, prone to coverage breakdowns and a general lack of athleticism opposite free safety Xavier Woods, Heath has logged 26 solo tackles and four pass deflection across all seven starts thus far this season.
The 28-year-old is in the final year of his contract, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. He’s earning $2 million in base salary and counts $2.95 million against the salary cap.
Suffice it to say, Adams would have been a gargantuan upgrade on Heath, bringing dynamism and play-making ability to the secondary while fueling Jones’ self-admitted title hopes.
Adams Releases Statement After Deadline Passes
This is awkward, Adams forced to acknowledge the fact that his employer made an effort to unload him to the highest bidder. Nonetheless, he took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, the dust settling, to express discord with Gang Green — and deny he put himself on the block.
“Any reports of me asking to be traded from the New York Jets are completely false,” Adams wrote, before adding, “At the end of the week last week, I sat down with the GM and Coach Gase and told them I want to be here in New York. I was told yesterday by my agent that the GM then went behind my back and shopped me around to teams, even after I asked him to keep me here! Crazy business.”
According to Rapoport, trade talks died down when the Jets made it clear they were seeking a first-round pick and two second-rounders for Adams’ services. The cost, evidently, was out of Dallas’ ballpark.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL