As interesting as a Jamal Adams trade would be, the Dallas Cowboys can’t do it.
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of a rough season in 2019 as they failed to make the playoffs after producing an 8-8 record despite having such a talented roster. But the latest NFL rumors have the New York Jets in a dilemma with All-Pro strong safety Jamal Adams. In the midst of contract negotiations (or lack thereof), he has requested a trade.
As part of his trade request, Adams provided seven teams that he would prefer to be dealt to. All of the teams on that list have a winning culture and the potential to contend right away, if they already haven’t been. One of those teams was, in fact, the Dallas Cowboys.
Fans of America’s Team have to consider Adams a dream addition as he could transcend the defense and possibly get the team over the hump in the NFC. However, this is too much dreaming to seriously be considered. While some consider the Cowboys defense as pitiful, it’s not as bad as many believe it to be, especially to the point that they need to trade for a player of Adams’ caliber.
This scenario is the dream of a lifetime, as he could transcend the Cowboys’ defense and potentially get them over the hump in the NFC. However, this is too much of a fantasy to seriously consider. As many will consider Dallas’ defense to be pitiful, it is not as bad as they say, especially to the point where they would “need” to trade for a player of Jamal Adams’ caliber.
In 2019, the Cowboys pass defense allowed a 65 percent completion percentage (25th), giving up 3,576 yards (10th) and 21 touchdowns (23rd). They recorded 71 passes defended (15th), 39 sacks (19th) and registered a pressure percentage of 23.4 (No. 9).
Given the amount of heat the pass defense had gathered in 2019, these statistics do not warrant the need to degrade the group given the lack of big names throughout the secondary.
Their run defense fared better allowing 4.1 yards per attempt (10th), recorded 14 forced fumbles, and allowed 103.5 rushing yards allowed per game (11th). The Cowboys performed the worst with their playmaking on the ball. They only tallied seven interceptions (31st) and had one of the highest totals of missed tackles in the league with 119 (seventh).
Jamal Adams doesn’t fit what the Dallas Cowboys need or the long-term plans.
By adding Adams via trade, Dallas will not be boosting the areas of which they need help on defense. The strong safety position is generally a defensive back who specializes in run support. Adams is more versatile than most players at the position but his overall game still starts with that prototype.
Statistically his best year in pass coverage since being drafted, Adams was targeted 38 times in 2019, 21 of which resulted in a completion (55.3 percent) while giving up 187 yards and an additional 58 yards after the catch, allowing two touchdowns on the season.
Overall, he recorded seven passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble, running both to the house for a touchdown. Adams also compiled 10 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits and 6.5 sacks, finishing second on the Jets. Despite a prolific 2019 season, it is not worth the price of making the acquisition for the safety.
As a former first-round pick, Adams will have the remaining year on his four-year, $22.5 million rookie contract and the roughly $9.86 million fifth-year option for the 2021 season. With the new deal he wants, he will likely then become the highest-paid strong safety in the NFL. Given that expectation, it’s unwise for Dallas to make a deal with their own uncertainty on the roster.
Trading for Adams would also cost, at minimum, a first-round pick and a standout player. Jets general manager Joe Douglas came from the Ravens, learning the value of the perfect hybrid safety. Assuming he’s willing to deal Adams, he’s going to want a massive haul in return.
Dallas is in no position to give up that type of value. They have roughly $11 million in cap space, per Over the Cap and have their own contract stalemate ongoing with quarterback Dak Prescott. He too wants to be one of the highest-paid players at his position in the NFL.
If the Cowboys were somehow able to pull off signing Prescott to a long-term deal and trading for Jamal Adams in a deal that doesn’t compromise their roster, it would also hurt their ability to sign players such as Chidobe Awuzie, Michael Gallup and Leighton Vander Esch, among others, down the line.
Trading for Jamal Adams is an unnecessary risk for the Dallas Cowboys. They have promising rookies who could be long-term solutions on defense that won’t put them in salary cap purgatory. As beautiful of a dream as the trade would be, it should remain in imaginations only.