NEW YORK — Jamal Adams’ wish was finally granted: He’s leaving New York in a stunning trade.
The Jets dealt the disgruntled star safety to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, splitting with a gifted player whose relationship with the franchise quickly deteriorated because of a contract dispute.
New York received a massive haul in the deal, sending a 2022 fourth-round draft pick along with Adams to the Seahawks for a 2021 first-rounder, a 2022 first-rounder, a 2021 third-rounder and safety Bradley McDougald — pending physicals.
"While we had maintained our interest in Jamal Adams having a long and successful career with the Jets, we know it’s important to be prepared and willing to adjust to new offers and circumstances," general manager Joe Douglas said in a statement. "As I have always said, my job is to listen to calls and this offer was one we could not ignore."
The deal ended a contentious several months for Adams and the Jets, a situation that increasingly appeared headed for a divorce when the two-time Pro Bowl selection criticized ownership early in the week and then took shots at coach Adam Gase and Douglas in an interview with the Daily News published Friday.
"To NY & especially the Jets fans, I love you & will always love you." Adams wrote in a Twitter post. "You all will hold a special place in my heart forever. When I came into the league, you embraced me & watched me grow! We went through it all together. Thank you for the Luv & support these 3 years. #Prez Out."
Adams followed that up with a message to the Seahawks and their fans in a Twitter post that included a graphic of the safety in his new team’s uniform.
"You have a man on a mission," he wrote, "a man all in on winning a Super Bowl, being the best leader & teammate he can be, & a man who will give everything he has to the city of Seattle and to the 12s all across the world. Thank you for believing in me!"
The 24-year-old former LSU star was drafted sixth overall by the Jets in 2017. He quickly established himself as a fan favourite and one of the best players at his position, being selected for the last two Pro Bowls and making the All-Pro squad last year.
But Adams’ relationship with the franchise began to take a turn last October.
The safety was angered when Douglas fielded phone calls from teams inquiring about Adams’ availability at the trade deadline. Douglas made it clear the cost for Adams would be exorbitant, a sign the Jets had no interest in dealing him. But Adams felt the team shouldn’t have even listened to other teams’ offers.
Adams went a week without speaking to Douglas or Gase before smoothing things after talking with CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson.
Adams was seeking an extension from the Jets, who didn’t budge since they had control over his contract through 2021 and could have also potentially placed the franchise tag on him in 2022. Douglas and Johnson said they hoped to make Adams a Jet for life, but Adams wanted his contract situation resolved this year.
When it appeared that wouldn’t happen, Adams made it clear he wanted out. He asked the team for a trade last month, and listed several teams to which he’d prefer to be dealt — including Seattle. Adams then used social media to criticize the team and capped things with the Daily News interview in which he said he didn’t feel Gase was "the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land" and saying Douglas wasn’t being straight with him or his agents.
A day later, Adams was headed out of town — after Douglas received an offer he couldn’t refuse.
"This trade provides us with a unique opportunity to improve our team with multiple first-round picks in each of the next two years and the flexibility to continue to build this team for the future," Douglas said. "Adding Bradley McDougald’s consistency and production to this year’s team was an important piece that gives us more experience on defence."
Seattle general manager John Schneider hasn’t been afraid to give up first-round picks for star players in the past. They did so in the trade that brought Percy Harvin to Seattle in 2013. Schneider did it again in 2015 when he brought tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle. In both instances, the Seahawks thought the proven player was worth more than what would have been a late first-round pick.
But never has Seattle relinquished this much of a haul for one player.
Seattle’s pass defence was a weakness a season ago, but the problems were a combination of issues in the secondary and a lousy pass rush that was among the worst in the league even with Jadeveon Clowney in the mix. Seattle was 27th in the league in pass defence.
The secondary improved after the acquisition of Quandre Diggs at midseason from Detroit, and the combination of Diggs and Adams in the secondary has significant upside for the Seahawks.
McDougald was a valuable piece of Seattle’s secondary after his arrival in free agency before the 2017 season after four years in Tampa Bay. His versatility proved vital in his ability to play both safety positions. Before becoming a full-time starter, McDougald at times filled in for strong safety Kam Chancellor and free safety Earl Thomas.
McDougald started 30 of 31 regular season games played the past two seasons, and finished with at least 70 tackles in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks. He also had five interceptions over the past two seasons.
"From the bottom of my heart I’d like to thank to ?Seahawks and the whole 12 fan base for not only giving me the opportunity but accepting me and making my time there memorable!" McDougald wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for believing in me and allowing me to show my talents. Luv4eva #BM30."