Could the Las Vegas Raiders be in play for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams?
The man known as “Prez” on Twitter is not all that impressed with his current team. That would be safety Jamal Adams, currently of the Jets.
Drafted sixth overall in 2017 out of LSU, Adams is already a two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection (2018 second team and 2019 first team) at just 24-years-old. He is also the Jets’ best defender, if not the best player on their roster flat out.
He’s got the accolades, but you don’t need those to validate the fact that he’s a special talent, one of the best at his position.
Adams can do it all. He can line up in blitz packages (he totaled 6.5 sacks by himself in 2019, and has 12 in three seasons).
He can perform more traditional duties of the safety position such as tackling, pass coverage and run defense (he had an elite 87.9 Pro Football Focus grade in 2019, attesting to his high level of play overall).
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Put simply, the former LSU star is the electrifying playmaker any team would desire to have in their secondary.
So the Raiders should already be on the phone with Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas, right? If any team knows what it’s like possessing high-profile personalities with talent, it would be Las Vegas.
From a talent and age perspective, the potential fit is undeniable. Even from a financial standpoint (for now), it could make sense.
It all sounds good until you remember that the Jets don’t feel obligated whatsoever to fulfill Adams’ request. Nor should they. Letting one player derail a franchise’s hopes and dreams by acting standoffish is no way to operate.
Not to mention, the Jets have contractual control of Adams potentially through 2023. He has one more year left on his rookie deal (the upcoming season), and New York picked up his fifth-year option for 2021.
Additionally, the team can tag him twice, so even if the disgruntled Adams decides to create a distraction, he’ll only be hurting himself.
Also unfavorable for the Raiders, but not impossible to overcome, is that Las Vegas was not among the teams listed as one of Adams’ “preferred destinations” should the Jets decide to trade him.
If the Raiders are willing to make an offer the Jets can’t refuse, combined with the ability to give Adams the money he seeks, there’s no reason why they can’t land Adams just because they’re not on the aforementioned list.
So although Las Vegas may have the resources to land the All-Pro safety, does that mean they should? Let’s examine further.
Should the Raiders actually make a move for Jamal Adams?
A good place to start would be with the state of the team as it stands right now.
The Raiders have a decent roster that is presumably looking to contend in 2020. They’re re-branding themselves in the betting capital of the world, one that is also establishing itself as an up and coming destination for sports and industry in general.
They’ll have a new stadium and all the fanfare that comes with it.
Perhaps the most appealing facet for a disgruntled player looking to cash in? No state income tax in Nevada (for comparison, New York has some of the highest income tax rates in the country).
While it’s true that the All-Pro safety wants to reset the market for his position by making at least $20 million a year, no safety in football currently makes more than $15 million a year.
So while Adams’ asking price is sky high, the nature of his position on the field could demand that figure to come down at least marginally, even for someone of his caliber. This could play into the Raiders’ favor long-term.
One might ask why Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock would be willing to pay Jamal Adams but were not willing to do the same for outside linebacker Khalil Mack, also one of the best at his position.
To put it simply, the Raiders are roster-wise in a much better position now than they were at that point.
With the team now firmly in the mold of those two men, they can supplement with outside talent as necessary, rather than force something that probably would not have worked within their system the way they likely perceived Mack’s situation.
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As for the talent already in-house for the Raiders at safety, there are certainly some intriguing names.
Johnathan Abram comes to mind first, a 2019 first-round selection who injured himself in the first game of the season, but whose skill-set is apparent based on college film.
Tanner Muse was drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft — he also presents an option at safety. However, he’s more of a hybrid safety/linebacker type, in the mold of Mark Barron or even fellow draftee Isaiah Simmons.
It’s evident that the team has depth at the safety position, which gives them a great deal of flexibility there. That only strengthens the case for acquiring Jamal Adams.
If Abram stays healthy, pairing him with Adams in the secondary would create a lethal backfield tandem.
Even if one of Abram or Adams were to succumb to injury, Las Vegas would still have the other talent and all of the depth listed above.
Talk about an enviable position.
Of course, this would be an expensive scenario just based on the expected cost to nab the former LSU product.
That shouldn’t stop the Raiders from at least exploring the possibility, though.