Whether you’re a fan or a player, the business side of sports can be painful. No player wants to be told they’re surplus to a team’s requirements, while fans hate to see their favorite star leave town to suit up for another squad. That tension has bubbled to the surface over the past few days, following the Jamal Adams’ potential move at the NFL trade deadline.
While the New York Jets safety has been ripped for comparing himself to Tom Brady and Aaron Donald, we’ll set those comments aside for a moment. What he is wrong about, however, is how NFL teams should handle their assets at the trade deadline.
The New York Jets-Jamal Adams drama
Everything began on Tuesday as the NFL trade deadline approached. Rumors started swirling that the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens might be interested in the Jets’ safety. Despite that chatter, however, no moves materialized. The team contends that they never actively shopped Adams, but simply listened to offers for him; Adams, however, claimed the Jets actively tried to move him.
Yesterday, Adams faced the New York media to explain his side of the situation. After noting that he still hasn’t spoken to general manager Joe Douglas yet, he told the reporters how the potential trade rumors hurt.
“At the end of the day, I know he has a job to do, and I respect it. But I hold myself in a high regard. I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to do since I’ve been here for the three years. I didn’t take that lightly. I really didn’t,” Adams said. While those comments are reasonable, things then took a turn.
“But when I heard, my agent called me and he told me what was going on, it definitely hurt me. I hold myself at a high level. The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don’t take calls on Tom Brady. That’s where I hold myself, in that regard. Regardless of, I understand that you have a job to do, that’s the way I took it.”
Parsing Adams’ comments
Understandably, most of the reactions to Adams’ comments have focused on his comparison to Tom Brady and Aaron Donald. While most fans felt the safety was placing himself in the same category as those players, Adams clarified his statement on social media.
Whether or not you feel his comparison is hyperbolic, the safety does have a point about how teams treat their players. While we have no way of knowing what assurances the Jets did or did not give him, it would be irresponsible to give a player your word only to break it.
As a franchise, the Jets haven’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt in that regard.
What Jamal Adams has wrong
Looking beyond the Brady analogy, what Adams is suggesting is simply bad asset management. Even if you have no intention of trading a player, there’s no reason not to listen to offers.
We know, for example, that at least one team did propose a trade for Tom Brady. While the Patriots essentially laughed them off the phone line, there’s no reason not to make, or listen to, an offer. If someone wants to overpay you to an obscene degree, why would a general manager stop them?
That’s especially relevant given the Jets’ recent struggles. While Adams is one of their best players, the franchise seems to be forever spinning their wheels. If the Cowboys or Ravens offered a king’s ransom for a single defensive player, any responsible GM would have to listen to their pitch for the good of the franchise. The Patriots, for example, have built their dynasty on the back of avoiding emotional attachment and moving players when they feel the time is right.
At the end of the day, neither party covered themselves in glory here. Based on the player’s comments, the Jets do seem to have misled or at least failed to clarify things with their star safety. Adams’, however, is also missing the point. Even if you’re Tom Brady or Aaron Donald, the good of the franchise comes before any single player.