It wasn't about the noise coming from the month or social media accounts of Jamal Adams. It was all about the draft picks coming from Seattle.
That's the message New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas pushed on Monday, when he explained why he sent his best player, Adams, to the Seahawks in a blockbuster trade that included two first-round picks coming back to the Jets.
"It really was our plan to keep Jamal here," Douglas said on a conference call. "But ... obviously we received an offer that was just too difficult to pass up and we decided to move forward."
Douglas has been praised for extracting two first-round picks from the Seahawks for Adams, who is a great player but clearly had grown disenchanted with the Jets and wanted out. And kudos to Douglas for getting a return that few believed was possible.
The Jets received safety Bradley McDougald and Seattle's first-round picks in 2021 and 2022. But the draft picks don't clean up the mess that Adams left on his way out the door.
In the days before he was traded, Adams publicly ripped owner Woody Johnson after he was accused of inappropriate racist and sexist comments. Then he blasted the leadership of coach Adam Gase and accused Douglas of being shady about contract negotiations in an interview with The Daily News.
Adams was gone a day later, but Douglas said that wasn't the reason why.
"This is a business. You don't take things personally," Douglas said. "Obviously, there was reason why those things were said. I don't take those things personally, I don't think anyone took those things personally. You've got to understand why those things were said and I can promise you that didn't affect us with any of our decision-making that happened over the past week."
By hinting that Adams only said those things because he wanted to be traded, Douglas took the high road, avoided criticizing Adams and downplaying the complaints of a now former disgruntled player.
But it's hard to imagine that Adams' comments weren't at least a factor in the Jets' decision. But by taking the high road. And, of course, the possibility that Adams could have become even more vocal once he arrived for training camp had to weigh on the Jets as well.
Douglas did feel compelled to defend his negotiating with Adams, after the former Jets star said that Douglas backtracked after saying he would offer Adams an extension this offseason.
"I just want to make it clear that I never promised an offer to Jamal or his agent, nor was I ever dishonest or ambiguous in any negotiations with their camp," Douglas said in his opening statement, seemingly in response to Adams' accusation.
This isn't the first time a player has been upset with the Jets in the year-plus of the Douglas-Gase era. Several players have publicly criticized management including including receiver Quincy Enunwa, former offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and Adams, who first lashed out at the team last fall, angry at Douglas for considering trading him at the deadline.
But Douglas, who at the end of last season vowed to improve communication in the organization, is comfortable that wasn't the issue in this situation.
"Like in most cases, players rely on their agent to handle any talks about their future," Douglas aid. "And that's how we handled it with Jamal and his representatives and I feel like our communication was very clear from the very beginning."
The Jets traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks over the weekend, after Adams publicly criticized the coach Adam Gase, GM Joe Douglas and owner Woody Johnson.
Back in February at the NFL Combine, Douglas said he wanted Adams to be a "Jet for life." And the Jets were still planning on that, but they wanted him to play one more season first.
Douglas said Monday the Jets "weren't in a position" to offer Adams a contract this offseason because of the current economic situation and because so few defensive players who are first-round picks have been extended after their third season since the CBA rules changed in 2011: Carolina's Luke Kuechly, Houston's J.J. Watt and Cleveland's Myles Garrett.
After being traded on Saturday night, Adams took a victory lap on social media - yes, he actually smoked a cigar on an Instagram live video. And some could perceive that the Jets just set a bad precedent by giving Adams everything he wanted - not only did they meet his trade demand, but they sent him to one of his preferred destinations.
But once again, Douglas said he's not worried about that.
"I certainly don't feel like this is a precedent for a player to shoot his way out of town," Douglas said. "I feel like we had a great contingency plan for any situation and it just so happened that the situation worked out the way it did."
The focus now is on getting the pick right. Adams was the fifth first-round pick the Jets have traded since 2013, joining Sheldon Richardson, Calvin Pryor, Leonard Williams and Darron Lee. So understandably Jets fans aren't exactly brimming with confidence about how these picks will work out.
But Douglas said that he talked with his scouting staff after the offer from Seattle, and they were excited to get for the opportunity and understand the draft process could be significantly different with the ongoing pandemic threatening the college football season. Douglas believes he has the "right" people in place to handle whatever challenges they face.
"The onus is on us to hit on these picks moving forward," Douglas said of the trade, which won't become official until both players pass a physical. Douglas said McDougald was scheduled to arrive in North Jersey on Monday night, take a COVID-19 test and then have a physical on Tuesday.
The Jets are certainly not a better team right now without Adams, but Douglas pushed back against the notion that they are giving up on the 2020 season. He said that the team is motivated to prove its 6-2 finish to 2019 wasn't a fluke. And he asked fans to have faith after the biggest move as a GM.
"We are trying to build this the right way," Douglas said.
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