Contract dispute between Jamal Adams and Jets will get uglier, and a training camp holdout could be in store

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets have always intended to give Jamal Adams the lucrative contract extension he so desperately wants. They just don't want to do it right now. And they hoped -- naively -- that their vocal team leader would be a little patient.

Clearly, though, patience isn't part of Adams' plan.

So buckle up, because this show is just getting started and it's obviously going to get ugly. The agents for the 24-year-old Adams raised the stakes on Thursday when they called the Jets and officially requested a trade, an NFL source confirmed. And since the Jets have no intention of granting him a trade, this surely won't be the last we hear from Adams.

And we've heard a lot so far this offseason. His camp had already leaked that the Jets were at a contract impasse last month. Since then, he hasn't been shy about his situation on social media, including earlier Thursday when he posted on Instagram about his situation and wrote "Maybe it's time to move on." Then came word of the trade request, followed by a leak of seven teams to which he'd love to be traded.

Is there any doubt that whenever the NFL finally re-opens, a training camp holdout is next?

No one from the Jets was available for comment on Adams' trade request, but their position is completely unchanged. As SNY reported last month, they have no intention of trading him. They also have no intention to grant him permission to seek a trade on his own. Their plan is to eventually sign him to a contract extension that will not only make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL, but will make him a "Jet for life," as they've often said they would.

But why would they do it now? He's under contract for two more seasons, and then they could use the franchise tag for a year or two after that. And they definitely don't want to do it in the midst of a global pandemic that has the NFL looking at a possible loss of $3 billion or more in revenue, which could lead to a stark decrease in future salary caps.

It's too early, and there's just too much fiscal uncertainty, which is why all they're asking Adams is for a little bit of time.

But he's obviously not going to give it to them -- not without a loud and unseemly fight. And at this point, who knows how far he's willing to take this? Probably into the summer. Maybe even into the season. It certainly seems possible that he's willing to do whatever he feels is necessary, even if it does turn into a distraction for his team.

Not that any of this should be surprising. Remember how Adams overreacted back in October when the Jets listened to trade offers for him at the trading deadline -- most notably from Adams' hometown Dallas Cowboys? He was furious at GM Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase and wouldn't speak to either of them for days. It didn't matter that they weren't shopping him. He was ticked that they would even listen.

"The Rams don't take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don't take calls on Tom Brady," Adams famously said. "That's where I hold myself, in that regard."

Donald, by the way, held out all of training camp in 2018 before the Los Angeles Rams finally gave in and gave him a six-year, $135 million contract. But there were a couple of key differences: Donald had already played four NFL seasons. Adams has only played three. And Donald and the Rams maintained a civil relationship throughout their negotiations. There was no noise, no threats, no demands on social media. They continued to do their business quietly, even after Donald refused to report to camp.

That's not happening here. Clearly Adams thinks the noise will help him, that the Jets will grow tired of his act or get so worried about a distraction that they'll decide it's better to trade him for whatever they can get. Or maybe he really just doesn't want to be a Jet anymore. Maybe he's convinced he's better off someplace else.

Whatever his motivation is, just don't count on it working. The Jets seem determined to hold their ground and not even engage in a back-and-forth with one of their biggest stars.

Will they maintain that stance if things get louder and uglier? It's hard to say. But it sure feels like Adams is determined to find out.

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