There’s been plenty of speculation about who the Baltimore Ravens will draft at 28th overall, but could the opt to trade the pick for Jamal Adams instead?
The Baltimore Ravens reportedly pursed Jets safety Jamal Adams prior to last season’s trade deadline, as the looked to bolster a safety room that saw Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliot lost to injury. Talks stalled, and Baltimore saw Chuck Clark come into his own to take over Jefferson’s role. Clark played his way to a new three-year contract extension, and figures to be an important part of the Ravens defense next season.
But could Jamal Adams still yet enter the fold?
Adams has wanted a new contract, but the two sides are still reportedly far apart in negotiations, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the former first-round pick will now be skipping out on the team’s voluntary virtual offseason program. Schefter reported on Friday that Adams could be a player to watch in trade discussions leading up to the draft.
The report does not link any specific teams to Jamal Adams, but the Ravens and Cowboys are teams that are known to have had talks with the Jets about the safety last season. After Baltimore beat out Dallas for Earl Thomas last offseason, it could be quite a story if the two are going head to head for another All-Pro safety in the hours leading up to the draft on Thursday.
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The Cowboys could offer a more appealing first-round pick, as they hold the 17th pick on Thursday night. If players like C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson are off the board at that point, it could make a good deal of sense for Dallas to flip their first-rounder to the Jets and use Jamal Adams to help bolster a secondary that lost Byron Jones this offseason. However, with serious dollars already invested in DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, Ezekiell Elliot, and others it’s hard to see how they could fit another deal for Adams into the mix, especially with Dak Prescott still due for an extension.
The Ravens have a similar cap situation, with ~$11-million in 2020 space. After factoring in the roughly $2.8-million it will probably take in cap to sign the rookie class, that leaves just over $8 million, but Baltimore can create more breathing room by reaching extensions with Ronnie Stanley or Matthew Judon, or could even create $5 million in cap space by cutting Brandon Williams.
Thinking long-term, an extension for Jamal Adams could largely step into the salary slot currently taken by Thomas. While Thomas was a Pro Bowler for the Ravens in 2019, 2020 will be his age 31 season, and Baltimore could create $6-million in space by cutting him after the 2020 season. Adams will be just 26 after his fifth-year option season in 2021, so a long-term deal would give the Ravens plenty of prime years from the 2019 All-Pro.
The question for Baltimore is less about the financials (though they are a factor), and more about the acquisition cost. The Jet Press’s Paul Esden Jr. suggested a deal where the Ravens send picks 28, 55, and 60 to New York in exchange for Adams, and I just don’t see Eric DeCosta going for something like that after acquiring two All-Pros in the last year for fifth-round picks. Given his age and control, Adams will obviously have a higher price than Marcus Peters or Calais Campbell, but I don’t see a deal coming together if the Ravens have to piece even one Day 2 pick with pick 28.
A few weeks ago, I took a look at a scenario where the Ravens could trade up to get Isaiah Simmons, citing Jamal Adams as a comp for what Simmons could be in the NFL. That being said, the fit for Adams in the Ravens defense is fairly clear, even with Thomas and Clark in the fold. Adams can thrive up in the box and also excels in man coverage, and could easily be schemed by Don Martindale into packages that also include Thomas and Clark.
While trading a first-round pick for a veteran doesn’t scream “Ravens,” DeCosta has shown himself far more aggressive than his predecessor, and especially if Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen are both off the board at 28, Baltimore could see adding Jamal Adams as a creative way to add to their front seven (as well as their secondary) with the pick. Adams obviously isn’t a true linebacker, but is talented enough in the box that he could still thrive in the Ravens’ increasingly position-less defense.
While a package of picks would probably be a non-starter, Baltimore could pounce if the Jets opt to recoup something of value for their disgruntled star.