NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jamal Adams is making good on a promise he made to the Jets and their fans.
He’s out and about, hunting for more “dawgs.”
Big ones, too.
Once New York’s dismal 4-12 season ended, an irritated Adams made it clear that he thinks the Jets need more impact players, a sentiment few would disagree with considering the team general manager Mike Maccagnan put on the field in 2018. The Jets scared absolutely no one and didn’t do rookie quarterback/potential savior Sam Darnold any favors.
Adams vowed to recruit free agents to the Jets and, judging by his latest target, he’s not messing around.
Adams told the New York Post recently that he sat down with the agent for star running back Le’Veon Bell at the Pro Bowl. Adams would probably trade in the luxury vehicle he received for being named Defensive MVP of the AFC’s 26-7 victory on Sunday for Bell, who will likely be the top free agent available when the bidding starts in a few weeks.
“I’ll tell you this: We’re hoping we can grab him,” Adams said.
The Jets figure to have around $100 million in salary cap space and their needs are many. In addition to putting a playmaker of Bell’s ilk in the backfield, New York also needs upgrades at wide receiver and on the offensive line, not to mention at certain spots on defense.
For his part, Bell didn’t play a single down in 2018 due to a bitter contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bell was looking for a lucrative long-term deal that never materialized, so he sat out the entire season.
While not yet technically a free agent, Bell, who will turn 27 on Feb. 18, is expected to hit the open market unless the Steelers hit him with a transition tag, which would allow them to work out a trade or match any offer sheet but also would eliminate the possibility of a compensatory draft pick. What seems extremely unlikely is Pittsburgh giving him a third consecutive franchise tag, which would likely carry with it a salary upwards of $20 million in 2019.
As the Steelers found out this season, there is life without Bell. Though they collapsed late and didn’t make the playoffs, they got a Pro Bowl season out of youngster James Conner, whose current contract will pay him less than $1 million in each of the next two seasons.
According to reports, the Jets are expected to make a serious run at Bell, who had 5,336 yards rushing, 2,660 yards receiving and 42 total touchdowns in 62 games over his first five seasons.
The former star at Michigan State figures to command a salary in the neighborhood of the $14.5 million he would have made in 2018 had he played, though many insiders have speculated about how much his value has been impacted by the saga in Pittsburgh.
Adams remains hopeful his message to Bell will be received favorably.
“Man, he still hasn’t hit me back. I’m kind of frustrated with him,” Adams joked. “Nah, I’m not. I’m not frustrated with him at all.”