NFL Rumors: Eagles Targeting 2 Versatile Jets Safeties?

Marcus Maye, Jamal Adams

Getty Jets stars Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams are one of the best safety tandems in the NFL.

Malcolm Jenkins’ impact on the Eagles’ secondary cannot be overstated. Neither can his unfortunate departure.

The franchise chose to let the 32-year-old safety leave in free agency without putting up much of a fight. They declined his team option for 2020 and he took his talents back to New Orleans for a minimal pay bump. It remains to be seen how that decision plays out in Philadelphia but give them credit for having a backup plan in place. The Eagles announced that cornerback Jalen Mills would transition to safety, then resigned Rodney McLeod to solidify the unit.

Mills will take over Jenkins’ role as an attacking inside-the-box safety (probably more strong than free) while McLeod holds down the spot he has manned in Philly since 2016. They also went out and signed hybrid defensive back Will Parks in free agency and drafted safety K’Von Wallace out of Clemson.

They have some parts but will they all fit together? There has been a growing sense that the Eagles still might sign another safety in free agency, like either Reshad Jones or Tony Jefferson.

Others have predicted they are waiting until the 2021 draft to take a playmaker like Andre Cisco (Syracuse) or JaCoby Stevens (LSU). Then, there are trade options and two of the biggest prizes on the block reside right up the New Jersey Turnpike: Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

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Jets Entertaining Offers for Maye: Report

Are the New York Jets entertaining trade offers for Maye? There has been a little bit of back and forth about the topic. First, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tossed out a nugget that the 27-year-old safety was available.

Jets GM Joe Douglas has “fielded trade inquiries and engaged in discussions” about Maye in the past year, per Mehta. The report comes on the heels of New York drafting Ashtyn Davis in the third round, the talented safety out of California.

Davis could be an insurance policy for Maye who can test free agency once his rookie contract expires after the 2020 season. Maye was the 39th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Mehta wrote the following about him:

Truth be told, Maye, who was the No. 39 overall pick by the previous Jets regime, would be a first-rounder in a re-do of the 2017 draft.

Maye played 95 and 99 percent of the defensive snaps in his first and third seasons. He bounced back from an injury-marred 2018 campaign with a career-high seven pass deflections last year, including a game-winner in the endzone in the waning moments of a win against the Steelers in Week 16.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has since refuted the trade report about Maye, including his source calling it “beyond fake news.” Either way, Pro Football Focus ranked Maye as the 14th-best safety in football last season after recording 65 total tackles and starting all 16 games.

In three NFL seasons, Maye has racked up 178 tackles and four interceptions. Perhaps Eagles GM Howie Roseman should pick up the phone and get the whole story.

The Curious Case of Jamal Adams

Enter Jamal Adams. The Jets’ other starting safety is widely regarded as one of the best in football, plus he’s coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl nods and his first All-Pro selection. Adams is an absolute beast in pass coverage and finished 2019 as the top-rate pass-rusher among safeties. He’s a certified stud.

But his young career has taken a dramatic twist. The former first-round pick (sixth overall in 2017) was the unexpected subject of trade rumors at last year’s deadline, with both the Ravens and Cowboys making strong pitches to acquire him. Those deals never happened but the mere speculation left a very bad taste in Adams’ mouth. He has already demanded a lucrative contract extension from the Jets and skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workout program.

It’s not a good look for a team trying to build a young nucleus around third-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Adams has maintained his desire to stay in New York but not without a new deal. He’s looking to be the highest-paid safety in the league, somewhere around $60 million.

The situation is fluid and will continue to fuel trade rumors throughout the offseason. The Eagles would have to give up a lot to get him, at least a second-rounder. He may be worth it.

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