It seems like New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas made the right decision in 2020.
On July 25, 2020, the Jets dealt away their disgruntled All-Pro star, Jamal Adams, to the Seattle Seahawks in a blockbuster deal that featured two first-round draft choices (one in 2021 and one in 2022) and a 2021 third-rounder.
Gang Green pulled off a unique strategy in the 2017 NFL draft double-dipping at the safety spot with their first two picks. They selected Adams with the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. Then they came back in the second round and nabbed Marcus Maye out of Florida with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round.
With just a pair of picks the Jets turned a weakness heading into that draft into an instant strength. Adams became a transcendent star and Maye developed into the perfect Robin to his Batman.
Now it appears the student has become the master.
Rankings Never Lie
On Tuesday, June 1 Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus released his top-10 safeties in the NFL heading into 2021 and he had some very interesting takes:
- Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos)
- Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings)
- John Johnson III (Cleveland Browns)
- Marcus Williams (New Orleans Saints)
- Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Derwin James (Los Angeles Chargers)
- Marcus Maye (New York Jets)
- Jessie Bates III (Cincinnati Bengals)
- Adrian Amos (Green Bay Packers)
- Jamal Adams (Seattle Seahawks)
Maye was always considered the sidekick to Adams during their tenure together with the Jets. The Seattle Seahawks stud is super talented and he always let everyone know. His constant spouting on and off the football field raised his profile.
While Maye preferred the quiet and letting his play do the talking for him on the football field. With Adams out of the picture in 2020, the spotlight shifted to the former Gators star and he didn’t disappoint.
Maye for a second consecutive season played in all 16 regular season games shedding the injury-prone label that was thrown on him in college. On top of his perfect attendance, Maye also had a career year by every possible measuring stick: two interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles, 88 combined tackles, and four tackles for loss.
While he didn’t have the sack production Adams had in his first year in Seattle (9.5 the new record for defensive backs in a single season), he did beat him in every other major category that matters. That includes but isn’t limited too: interceptions (Adams had zero), pass deflections (only had three), and the former All-Pro only suited up for 12 contests due to a myriad of injuries.
Douglas traded away the lesser safety for a bounty of picks to rebuild his new look Jets. Part of those assets brought in former USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. Then Gang Green still has another first-rounder in 2022 to play with thanks to that historic trade.
Maye Day Hopefully Doesn’t End Anytime Soon
Maye signed his franchise tag tender for $10.6 million earlier this offseason. Although both he and his representation are hoping to strike a long-term commitment from the Jets by the July 15 deadline.
Prior to selecting Maye in the NFL draft, the green and white had a terrible track record in the second round. Not only does it seem like that curse is over, but the Jets found one of the great steals of that draft class.
The former Florida Gator stud has developed into a team captain and a reliable stud on the backend of the Jets defense. Now the next step is locking in the 28-year old for the foreseeable future.