Ranking the 7 Most Likely Trade Destinations for Jamal Adams After Trade Request

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJune 19, 2020

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 24:   (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)   Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets in action against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium on November 24, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Raiders 34-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

So Jamal Adams wants out, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. And according to Adam Schefter of the same outlet, the first-team All-Pro safety "would welcome a trade" to seven particular teams.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a team inside or outside of that group that wouldn't be interested in landing a superstar who Pro Football Focus recently ranked as the fifth-best sub-25-year-old player in the NFL, but some destinations make more sense than others.

Remember, Adams will soon need a new contract—his current dilemma with the New York Jets revolves around his expiring rookie deal—so there wouldn't be much point in acquiring him if you're not willing and able to fork over market-setting dough.

With that in mind, and with depth-chart dynamics and potential motivations also taken into consideration, here's how we rank the seven destinations Adams reportedly desires in the likelihood he winds up there.


Listed Candidates

Super Bowl winners can't rest on their laurels. The last 15 champions before the Chiefs failed to successfully defend their titles, so it would be understandable if Kansas City felt the need to get better this offseason.

Still, according to Spotrac, the Chiefs are one of just two teams with less than $4 million in salary-cap space, and juggernauts are always pretty low on draft capital. That means they'd almost certainly have to give up key players for Adams, which seems silly considering they're already stacked with Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen at safety.

They might not have won that Super Bowl without Mathieu or star defensive tackle Chris Jones, but the Jets would likely want somebody like that in return. That could easily do more harm than good, and Adams' new contract would probably make it even more difficult to get Patrick Mahomes' next deal done.

A deal sending Adams to the Chiefs would be shocking.


The Ravens, who are already low on salary-cap space, will soon have to pay Ronnie Stanley, Matt Judon and that Lamar Jackson guy. Their draft capital is limited because they're a contender, and they probably shouldn't get wild and break up a team that won a league-high 14 games last year to add Adams.

Not only did Baltimore bring in legendary free safety Earl Thomas last offseason, but it also handed a three-year, $16 million contract to underrated strong safety Chuck Clark.

Put it all together and there's little reason to pursue a deal for Adams.


Would Bill O'Brien try to bring Jamal Adams to Houston?
Would Bill O'Brien try to bring Jamal Adams to Houston?Ed Zurga/Associated Press

On one hand, Adams would be a perfect fit next to versatile free safety Justin Reid, and the Texans at least rank in the top half of the league in cap space. For those reasons, you can't completely rule out the possibility that the unpredictable Houston front office might try to atone for that widely lampooned DeAndre Hopkins trade and pull the trigger on a deal for Adams.

But on the other hand, the Texans have almost no trade ammunition without their top two picks in the 2021 draft. And the roster isn't loaded with depth anywhere, so there aren't any obvious in-house trade candidates, either.

Houston will soon have to think about paying quarterback Deshaun Watson big bucks, and Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills are entering contract years. While the Texans have been trade-happy of late, expect them to sit this one out.


The Seahawks did acquire Jadeveon Clowney under somewhat similar circumstances last offseason, and they could start to reminisce about the Legion of Boom days and make an impulsive move for Adams.

Still, that's unlikely considering the team isn't even willing to pay Clowney to return. The pass-rusher cost the Seahawks a pair of players and a Day 2 draft pick a year ago and could really help the front seven, but a fiscally conservative front office has played hardball with him anyway.

It'd be odd if instead they opted to surrender talent and/or draft capital for the right to hand even more money to Adams, especially considering that Seattle's top-heavy roster is quite thin. Plus, the team is pretty set with Quandre Diggs, Bradley McDougald and 2019 second-round pick Marquise Blair at safety.

A move for Adams wouldn't make much sense.


The 49ers likely have the cap space to pull this off, and there's little doubt Adams would provide a significant upgrade over Jaquiski Tartt. They also haven't shied away from shaking things up following a Super Bowl season. If they were willing to trade DeForest Buckner, they might be willing to deal Tartt and another key player and/or a high draft pick for Adams.

It also helps that their quarterback is already locked up long-term, although bills will soon come due for Trent Williams, Solomon Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kyle Juszczyk, all of whom are entering contract years.

Considering they lack a 2021 third-round pick and will likely be stuck picking late in Rounds 1 and 2, the price could be too steep for a team that might figure it already has the talent to win a Lombardi Trophy without having to make huge sacrifices for Adams.

Still, don't rule it out.


NFL Twitter was seemingly quick to rule out a potential deal sending Adams to the Eagles, which is understandable considering Philadelphia already made a splash in the secondary by acquiring Darius Slay this offseason.

The Eagles also took the time and energy to re-sign Jalen Mills and move him to safety to replace the departed Malcolm Jenkins, and they already have a league-high nine players on their payroll who make at least $10 million per year. Adding Adams could be pushing it, but the trade ingredients might still be there.

First, despite all of those big contracts, the Eagles have more cap space than all but six other teams. And because of all those expensive deals—including the one for quarterback Carson Wentz—there isn't a lot of work to do in the next couple of offseasons.

The Eagles are going all-in, Mills is only back on a cheap, one-year contract, and there's no telling how his transition will go anyway. Adams and Slay could transform the Eagles secondary and give the team's Super Bowl odds a substantial boost.

When you think about it, this isn't far-fetched. 


Brandon Wade/Associated Press


Like the Eagles, the Cowboys have to be all-in. They have an NFL-high three players making at least $20 million per year (only three other teams have more than one player making that much money), and owner Jerry Jones has to be running out of patience after falling short of the NFC Championship Game for a 24th consecutive year.

Dallas was interested in acquiring Thomas before he landed in Baltimore last year, according to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and even with HaHa Clinton-Dix joining Xavier Woods this offseason, they're not stacked at safety. Plus, both Clinton-Dix and Woods are better suited as free safeties, while Adams is more of a strong safety.

Still, this is far from a lock. Only nine teams have less cap space than the Cowboys, and life long-term will only become more expensive if/when they sign franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott to a new deal. Hill reported they lost out on Thomas because they weren't willing to pay up, and it's worth noting that they haven't invested much draft or financial capital into that position in recent years.

In other words, while Adams is seemingly ready to join any of these seven teams, there's a chance none will be able to pull it off.


Unlisted Long Shots

Cleveland Browns: It's easy to see why Adams might not be fired up about a team that hasn't won a playoff game in his lifetime, but Cleveland has the talent to take off. The Browns also lead the league in cap space and could use help at safety.

Detroit LionsYes, another team that hasn't won a postseason affair since before Adams was born. But the Lions should be competitive with a healthy Matthew Stafford. Slay and Diggs are gone, and there's somewhat of a hole next to Tracy Walker at the safety position. Plus, they rank third in cap space.

Tennessee TitansThey're in win-now mode after a trip to the AFC Championship Game, they have plenty of cap space, and Adams would be a massive upgrade over Kenny Vaccaro. This isn't a sexy destination, but it makes sense.


It's Possible He Goes Nowhere

Of course, it's also possible this is just more posturing as Adams and the Jets negotiate a long-term deal. The Jets don't have to do anything and—with his fifth-year option and the franchise tag—could control Adams' rights for three or four more years.

Hell, just a month ago, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported the team had no plans to trade Adams.

Sometimes, these games happen within the business of professional sports. Don't rule out a return to Gang Green.


Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012. Follow him on Twitter, @Brad_Gagnon