New York Jets Insult the Team’s 2020 MVP With a Lowball $8.5 Million Contract Offer

In the 2017 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected safety Jamal Adams from LSU No. 6 overall. The next pick was also a safety. At No. 38, the Jets took Florida’s Marcus Maye. Adams became a multi-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 2019. However, the Jets refused to pay him what he wanted and traded the playmaker to the Seattle Seahawks in 2020.

With Adams gone, Maye stepped up and became the team’s MVP in 2020. Now, Maye is looking for a new contract, and, once again, the Jets are balking at a star safety’s demands.

Marcus Maye was the New York Jets 2020 MVP 

Marcus Maye of the New York Jets follows the action against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Marcus Maye | Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Maye started all three seasons alongside Adams. The vocal former LSU Tiger overshadowed Maye both on and off the field, however.

Without his running-mate in 2020, Maye stepped up in a variety of ways. His former head coach, Adam Gase, told the New York Post after last season:

This year, not having Jamal with him, I think he realized, ‘Hey I have to be more vocal, I have to do things differently. Everybody’s gonna kind of be looking at me to see how I practice, how I prepare, how I play in games.’

Although the Jets didn’t have much success on the field in 2020, Maye put up career highs in tackles (88), tackles for a loss (4), QB hits (2), sacks (2), passes defended (11), and equaled his career-best two interceptions.

Maye’s season of stepping up inside and outside the white lines earned him the Curtis Martin Team MVP, an award annually voted on and given out by Jets players.

The Jets and Maye will miss the deadline for a 2021 contract extension 

Maye became an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season. In order to keep the valuable safety, the Jets franchise-tagged the former Gator in the hopes of working out a long-term contract with him.

The franchise tag number for a safety in 2021 is $10.6 million. Reports in the New York Post have the team offering Maye a three-year deal worth around $8.5 million per year.

While a long-term deal does provide some security, the money makes no sense for Maye. If the Jets franchise Maye again next year, his two-year salary average will be $11.67 million.

Also, while superstar NFL safeties make $12 million a year and up, the second-tier players at the position – where Maye fits in – are getting much bigger deals than the Jets offered.

This offseason, the Cleveland Browns signed free agent safety John Johnson for $11.25 million per year. The New England Patriots re-signed Devin McCourty for $11.5 million for two years, and the Giants also brought their guy back too, inking Logan Ryan to a three-year, $10.33 million per year extension.

The Jets have reportedly ignored Maye’s counteroffers for his extension, and the July 14, 4 P.M. deadline to negotiate an extension will pass with no long-term deal for Maye.

Is this another Jamal Adams situation?

The Jamal Adams/New York Jets situation soured quickly. The LSU Tigers went 25-12 with Adams in the defensive backfield, but, as a pro, Adams’ team went 16-32 in his first three seasons.

The losing took a toll on Adams and, after a loss to Jacksonville, he reportedly went off on teammates in the locker room, per ESPN. This led to the Jets reportedly exploring an Adams trade at the 2019 trade deadline, according to NorthJersey.com.

Following the failed trade, Adams’ relationship with Gase and GM Joe Douglas went south, and, ahead of the 2020 season, he officially requested a trade. The Jets complied, preferring the two first and one third-round picks they got from Seattle to paying Adams franchise player money.

By not committing to Maye long-term, it looks like the Jets are heading down the same path with their other 2017 draft safety. Another banner year may get the team MVP the commitment he deserves. But, with all the high-profile first-round offensive players the team’s picked early in the last few drafts, chances are Maye is headed for the same fate as Adams.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference, contract figures courtesy of spotrac

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