Jamal is a top talent, but the Chiefs shouldn’t think of trading for him.
It isn’t supposed to happen this way. Superstar players are not supposed to get jettisoned from their team with two more years of reasonably affordable club control under their rookie contracts. Teams are supposed to hold on to their most talented assets, and build their teams around those talents.
But, here we are. The New York Jets have All-Pro safety Jamal Adams on the trading block despite the fact that he is their best player by a country-mile—and despite the fact that the team is not that good to begin with. Your team does not get better by trading away its best player!
The Jets are asking for a lot to let go of their 2017 1st round pick, as they are reportedly seeking a 1st and a 3rd round pick in exchange for the last two years of his rookie deal. There is a catch, of course: Adams wants a new deal. The two-time Pro Bowler wants a new deal immediately and he wants to break the bank in the process. The Chicago Bears have the highest paid safety in the league by average per year, with Eddie Jackson netting $14.6 million annually. Adams wants to exceed that. He will and he should.
But it should not be in Kansas City. It should not be with the Chiefs.
First, to answer everyone’s first argument, the Chiefs should not pass on this deal because of money. The Chiefs have ample salary cap space in 2021 and beyond to easily make way for Adams (while also making Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones happy and long-term staples of the team). Disagree if you’d like, but please look at the Chiefs salary cap obligations in 2021 and beyond before you do. The space is there. Yes, the money is a lot. It would limit their flexibility moving forward and it is a consideration. But it is not the biggest barrier.
Instead, general manager Brett Veach should pass on this deal for a whole other reason. The single biggest reason the Chiefs should not pursue a trade for the former LSU Tiger is because of their own former LSU Tiger, Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu, too, is an All-Pro safety who the Chiefs have already successfully integrated in to the defense, one who has quickly become the vocal and emotional leader of the entire unit.
Mathieu, too, will be seeking a new contract in the next 12 months. His current deal is set to expire after the 2022 season, but superstars like “The Landlord” will seek an extension prior to entering their last contracted season for financial security.
Kansas City should choose Mathieu. Yes, Mathieu is four years older—he’ll be 30 when his current deal expires—but the team instantly gravitated towards his leadership and that’s not something you’re getting from Adams. By all accounts, the New York Jet has been the opposite of Mathieu. He hasn’t galvanized the team. Instead, he’s alienated the team through vocal contract demands and ultimatums for the team to pay up or trade him with two years left on his contract.
The Chiefs, ideally, do not plan to need Mathieu to be the superstar safety he is now in three years. The goal for the team will be for him to pass that baton over to 2019 second round draft pick Juan Thornhill, who was excellent for Kansas City as a rookie. He should continue to grow over the next two years and will then need a second contract. At that time, what the Chiefs will want from Mathieu is leadership and football IQ and those traits will not diminish with age; they’ll only get better.
Now I am of the opinion that Kansas City should acquire a veteran safety before the season starts, but I am not of the opinion that it should be this type of investment. The Chiefs need a more reliable reserve than Armani Watts, especially so that Mathieu can continue spending time at cornerback. But it should not be at the expense of massive future draft capital (which the team desperately needs), and it should not be at the expense of re-signing Mathieu or keeping Thornhill long-term.
It would be fun to add a player of Adams’ caliber to the Super Bowl Champions’ roster, but Veach should absolutely sit this one out.