Once again, rumors are swirling around Jamal Adams and his wanting to leave the New York Jets. Since being drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Adams has become one of the best safeties in all of football.
Being a Dallas-Fort Worth area native and attending Hebron High School, the Dallas Cowboys have always been linked with the star defensive back. Dating back to October 2019 and the trade deadline, Jerry Jones has been going after Adams, with the Jets reportedly turning down a trade which included a first-round pick and cornerback Anthony Brown.
Whispers around the league came up again around the time of the NFL Draft, but nothing came to fruition.
Then, this video of Adams telling a Cowboys fan he is “trying” to be traded to Dallas.
— CTB (@catchtheblitz) June 22, 2020
Even if Adams is traded to play for the Star, there is one thing we know: He wants a contract extension. Can Dallas afford to pay him at the same time they will be paying franchise quarterback Dak Prescott?
Nobody is quite sure what the salary cap is going to look like over the next couple years. Revenue is going to be down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cowboys could be taking a cap hit of at least $10 million to at least seven players if Adams is paid.
The top-paid safety in the league at the moment is Eddie Jackson of the Chicago Bears. Adams will surely want more than his $14.6 million per year, pushing closer to the $18-$20 million range.
Paying Adams could come at the cost of paying other important role players. We have seen that happen this offseason with defensive stars Byron Jones and Robert Quinn leaving in free agency, while the Cowboys deciding to pay Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott instead.
Money aside, Dallas first has to put a trade together. For now, we know the Cowboys will be going up against seven teams as the Buccaneers, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Eagles, 49ers, and Seahawks are reportedly interested, but Dallas is seen as the favorite.
All seven competitors are seen as Super Bowl contenders and are in win-now mode. Philadelphia is the team that really stands out, as letting the All-Pro safety slip to an in-division arch-rival would be catastrophic. Especially when he has expressed his desire to play in Dallas.
So what could the Cowboys offer the Jets now that Adams has voiced his displeasure and has publicly stated he wants to leave?
If the offer back in October was a first-round pick and Anthony Brown, Dallas should be able to get a better deal now. A first-round pick is more than likely still in play. The remains of the trade are where the Cowboys could have leverage.
Since Byron Jones left for the Miami Dolphins, Dallas will be picking up an extra third-round pick because he signed for over $13 million. Trading away a third-rounder may seem valuable (especially with how well the Cowboys drafted in late rounds this year), but having an extra one still leaves the team with at least six picks in round two through seven.
Focusing attention to the first-round pick and thinking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft. If Dallas does not trade for Adams, they are going to need to assess their problem in the secondary. Either at cornerback or safety, those positions must be an early-round priority next April.
Shaun Wade of Ohio State and Patrick Surtain of Alabama are seen as top cornerbacks in next year’s draft, while Andre Cisco of Syracuse and Jevon Holland of Oregon could be first-round selections at safety.
Jerry Jones and the front office must ask themselves: Would they rather have another young defensive back or an experienced leader in Adams to become the star of the defense.
Going the route of a young leader and star has worked over the past few years with Dak Prescott on the offensive side of the ball and Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker.
However, during this next contract of Prescott, the Cowboys should be ‘all in’ and win at any cost. This four-five year window will be as good of an opportunity for a franchise desperate to win a championship to finally win one since the last one in 1996.
Trading for Adams would be the move of the NFL offseason, elevating the Cowboys’ defense to one of the best in the NFC.
A first and a third-round pick feels like the right deal which both teams would be satisfied with. Everyone knows how happy Jones was with trading away the 2019 first-round pick to acquire Amari Cooper.
If he can pull off another blockbuster trade, the Cowboys would instantly become one of the favorites to make the Super Bowl.
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