Cowboys fans should recognize Adams’ name, as the team aggressively tried, and failed, to acquire him before the league’s trade deadline. That pursuit is expected to reintensify in the coming months.
“He’s another player that league sources still expect the Jets might be willing to trade,” Vacchiano said. “The Cowboys, of course, were in hot pursuit at the trading deadline, and they are likely to try again this winter.”
The Cowboys wanted Adams on a significant level, reportedly offering a first-round draft pick and another late-round choice for the 24-year-old. New York, however, sought a compensation package comprised of a first-rounder and a pair of second-round selections — more Jalen Ramsey than Minkah Fitzpatrick, in terms of total capital.
This gave pause to the Cowboys, who sweetened the pot with a backup-level player, to no avail. Gang Green countered by demanding All-Pro guard Zack Martin be part of the pact, and talks subsequently crumbled.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed after the fact that he badly wanted Adams, a Texas native and Hebron High School graduate, to return home.
“The coverage of it has been pretty accurate,” Jones said on Nov. 1, via The Athletic. “We obviously were trying to utilize our (draft picks) to help the Cowboys better than we could’ve used the same picks in the draft.”
A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2018, Adams is in the midst of another all-star campaign. The No. 6 overall choice of the 2017 draft has tallied 52 solo tackles, eight tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one interception and a defensive touchdown across 12 games, earning stellar marks from Pro Football Focus for his coverage and run support.
Context: Adams has more sacks than Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (five), more solo stops than linebackers Leighton Vander Esch (43) and Sean Lee (42), and more picks than cornerback Byron Jones (zero) and safety Jeff Heath (zero).
Therein lies Dallas’ intrigue, which hasn’t — and won’t — dissipate without another swing for the fences.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Where There’s Smoke …
Back in October, Maven Sports Cowboys insider Mike Fisher proposed that Jerry Jones isn’t done courting Adams. Fisher tweeted after the deadline expired: “Too bad it didn’t work out. #Cowboys will simply pursue @TheAdamsEra again later. Seriously.”
Everyone not named quarterback Sam Darnold and rookie defensive tackle Quinnen Williams were supposedly on the Jets’ trade block. This included householders such as Bell and perennial Pro Bowl talents like Adams.
It was a fire sale initiated from general manager Joe Douglas, who’s attempting to undo the roster left behind by his predecessor. And while no club ultimately pulled the trigger, Fisher couldn’t help but wonder if it’s only a matter of time before Adams is shipped elsewhere.
Noteworthy, though: If the Jets are truly clearing out “old-regime” starts, and Dallas and Adams wish to be together … this concept is almost certain to be revisited, as New York has contractual control for two more seasons over a standout player … who the Cowboys wanted/want on some level.
Cowboys Have Necessary Resources to Acquire Adams
Beyond the draft selections and/or players it’d take to pry him out of the Big Apple, Dallas would need to absorb Adams’ rookie contract, which is slated to expire following the 2020 season. In such a scenario, they’d probably exercise Adams’ fifth-year option for 2021 while exploring a long-term extension.
Adams signed a fully-guaranteed rookie deal worth $22.25 million, including a $14.32 million signing bonus. He’ll count a paltry $735,000 against the salary cap for his walk year. Absolute chump change for a defender of his caliber.
The Cowboys have their own in-house free agents (Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones) to worry about, but they’ll also possess enough money — a projected $90 million in salary-cap space — to satisfy the majority.
And they’ll be in the market for safety help, as incumbent starter Heath is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Jones openly attempted to upgrade on Heath, a defensive weak link, before the deadline. Hence, Adams.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL