Versatile Jets Prospect Earns Large Guaranteed Contract: Report

Tony Adams, Illinois

Getty Former Illinois defensive back Tony Adams returning an interception to the house during a college football game.

Eventually, all the numbers come out for contracts, but sometimes it takes a little while in the NFL.

On Tuesday, May 31 Rich Cimini of ESPN tweeted out the full guaranteed contract details for the New York Jets’ top undrafted free agents:

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A Very Interesting Note

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The top two numbers were reported weeks ago, but the specific numbers for Tony Adams just recently became available.

The talented defensive back out of Illinois earned $110,000 in guaranteed money which is the third-highest total among the UDFA class for the Jets.

Although to add even more context, Adams earned the third-highest guaranteed total of any undrafted free agent safety in the NFL in 2022, per Spotrac:

  1. Markquese Bell, Florida A&M via Dallas Cowboys ($215,000)
  2. Smoke Monday, Auburn via New Orleans Saints ($120,000)

Adams played five seasons for Illinois and filled up the stat sheet:

  • 11 pass deflections
  • 11.5 tackles for loss
  • Over 206 total tackles

Although beyond the stats another thing that intrigued the Jets was the versatility. Throughout his collegiate career, Adams notched starts at both cornerback and safety.

The more feathers in your cap you have, the more attractive you are as a prospect to an NFL team. That will be critically important for a team like the Jets who have suffered a lot of injuries over the years.

A Wide Open Competition

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The Jets may have one of the most wide-open competitions I can remember in the history of training camps.

While Jordan Whitehead is locked into one of the starting safety spots after signing a two-year deal for $14.5 million, the other one is completely open.

When I say completely that is literally what I mean.

You could make an argument that one of any of these six guys could be the opening day starter:

Adams got a nice chunk of change but he chose wisely beyond the money joining the Jets. Not only does the former Fighting Illini product have a chance to make the final-53, but there is a realistic path to a starting gig.

Right now Joyner is a penciled-in starter, but that certainly isn’t written in permanent marker.

Last season he played a total of nine snaps after tearing his triceps in the season opener versus the Carolina Panthers. Prior to that, he played two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders as a cornerback, not a safety.

So in other words, a 31-year-old veteran isn’t a lock by any means to start considering his age, time away from football, and the fact he hasn’t naturally played the position since 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams.

In a perfect world, Joyner would be the third rotational safety in this scheme. Someone that is certainly good to have in the locker room but not a guy you have to rely on for a massive role.

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