Jets’ trade of Jamal Adams, NFL power rankings, training camps and more

The New York Jets are rebuilding — again — and it has major ramifications for multiple big names in the Big Apple.

Jamal Adams was traded from the New York Jets to the Seattle Seahawks. Sam Darnold better have a damn good year.

The two things seem completely separate. They are anything but.

With Adams off to the Emerald City, the Jets are once again looking towards the future.

A few weeks ago, I wrote New York should keep Adams and send a message. However, landing two first-round picks and a third-rounder is such a value, it would have been lunacy for general manager Joe Douglas to say no. In short, the trade was smart for Gang Green.

Still, it weakens an already poor secondary in 2020. The Jets are inarguably worse this year after the deal, and now Darnold faces immense pressure.

Going into his third year, Darnold has shown flashes but done little of note. In 26 starts, he’s thrown 36 touchdowns against 28 interceptions while completing 59.9 percent of his throws. New York has largely been miserable, and while the Jets went 6-2 in their final eight games last year, they mostly beat awful teams.

If Darnold isn’t vastly improved this season, it’s likely New York is a bottom-rung team. If that’s the case, second-year head coach Adam Gase will be looking for work. A new coach means change. With two first-round selections in 2021 in a quarterback-rich draft, the Jets could simply decline Darnold’s fifth-year option and draft his replacement for the long haul.

For Douglas, any outcome is fine. If Darnold doesn’t improve and Gase gets nothing out of the club once more, he can clean house with immunity.

Douglas didn’t draft Darnold or hire Gase, and has the full support of owner Woody Johnson. The second-year general manager from Philadelphia could start looking to build his own brain trust, knowing he has four first-round picks over the next two years.

However, if Darnold does become the quarterback many envisioned him to be out of USC and Gase  turns the franchise around, Douglas is now loaded with ammunition and options.

In the NFL, moves the magnitude of trading Adams has ripple effects. In this case, Darnold is the most impactful to watch. Only 23 years old, his career remains largely ahead of him. Yet with one more underwhelming campaign, he suddenly finds himself teetering on extinction in New York.

Power rankings

Top 10 what-could-have-been players in NFL history

1. Gale Sayers, RB, Chicago Bears
2. Greg Cook, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
3. Joe Delaney, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Ernie Davis, RB, Cleveland Browns
5. Bert Jones, QB, Baltimore Colts
6. Sterling Sharpe, WR, Green Bay Packers
7. Bo Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Raiders
8. Terrell Davis, RB, Denver Broncos
9. Billy Sims, RB, Detroit Lions
10. Tony Boselli, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars


“It’s better than I thought coming in. That’s kind of put my mind at ease, knowing that I’m going to be put in the best possible situation given this time. You can just see that the NFL and the NFLPA are really taking this seriously [with] the social distancing, the wearing a mask.”

– Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on coronavirus precautions entering camp

Mahomes is happy with the setup in Kansas City, but will it all be enough to allow training camp and the subsequent season go off without many hitches?

Without question, it’ll be the dominant storyline in the early going.


Random stat

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the NFL’s longest losing streak at 26 games.

Oddly, it ended with consecutive wins over the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Cardinals to end the 1977 season. Both losing coaches — Hank Stram and Don Coryell — were fired.

Info learned this week

1. Snyder’s lack of preparedness leads to no nickname in 2020

Washington won’t have a moniker in 2020. After deciding to ditch the team’s previous nickname, owner Daniel Snyder has decided his franchise will compete as the Washington Football Team this season.

While trademarking and branding on such a quick turnaround is challenging, it’s nothing short of comical Snyder hasn’t been prepared for this moment. The team has been fending off a name change for decades and apparently, Snyder never once thought about what a new name would be, let alone trademarking one.

It’s not worth the time to rip Snyder any further, but it’s more evidence of how little he plans and pays attention to detail.

2. Chiefs’ Duvernay-Tardif opts out, will continue to work on front lines

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to say he won’t play in 2020. He won’t be the last.

The Chiefs’ right guard, who is also a doctor practicing in Canada, announced his decision via social media on Friday night. Duvernay-Tardif explained he believes the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to the community is too great, and if he’s willing to take chances, it’ll be as a medical professional.

Per the NFL-NFLPA agreement, Duvernay-Tardif will get $150,000 instead of the $2.75 million on his contract. His contract tolls, but he does not receive an accrued year towards free agency.

While Duvernay-Tardif is the first, there will be more. Expecting a flurry of opt-outs is premature, but players with autoimmune issues, or who have those in their family with similar issues, have a tough choice to make.

It’s worth noting those deemed high-risk will get $350,000 with an accrued year towards free agency, perhaps lessening the blow enough for the decision to be made easier.

3. Vikings’ extension of Zimmer is a wise move

Mike Zimmer was entering a lame-duck campaign. Now he’s one of the safest coaches in football.

Last week, the Minnesota Vikings gave Zimmer a three-year extension, signing him through the 2023 season. Zimmer, who has coached the Vikings since 2014, is now tied for the seventh-longest current tenure alongside Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans.

Zimmer hasn’t reached the Super Bowl, but he came within a win despite having Case Keenum at quarterback. Last year, the Vikings engineered a significant upset over the Saints at the Superdome in the Wild Card round.

Minnesota did the right thing by locking up a coach who would have been unemployed for an hour if he hit the market.

4. Training camp will take time before looking normal

In the past, veterans reported to camp and, within a few days, the pads were popping. This summer, the lead-up to hitting will be a few weeks.

The league has instituted a 20-day period of conditioning before there is contact, largely feasible because there won’t be preseason games. This could be critical in avoiding injuries.

Last week, I published a report on how players have worked to stay in shape during the pandemic. Through my interviews with two world-class trainers, Texans tight end Darren Fells and a general manager, the notion of avoiding the injury-riddled 2011 campaign was brought up repeatedly without provocation.

GOING DEEP: What training has been like for NFL players throughout the pandemic

What was different about 2011? The lockout, which kept guys from working out at the facility. While this is obviously different for a multitude of reasons, the disruption of structure is key to note. Hopefully, getting three weeks of workouts in before strenuous activity helps.

5. Don’t get twisted over NFL Top 100 list

NFL Network revealed 100-81 on its The Top 100 Players of 2020 show and, as usual, it sparked debate. And outrage.

Yes, it’s ludicrous to have Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay and Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett — among others — ranked lower than Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (more on him below). Still, remember players do these rankings by selecting who they believe are the top 20 players in the game. It’s always going to be an absurd list until guys don’t simply pick their friends and teammates.

Ultimately, the show is for fun. It’s to create some talk around the virtual water cooler and to see who the. players themselves see as the best. It’s a fun if flawed idea, and since we’re in late July with nothing else to do, it becomes a topic.

Don’t lose your mind, just embrace the circus (or ignore it until the circus leaves town).

History lesson

From 1984-96, the NFC won 13 consecutive Super Bowls. The San Francisco 49ers were responsible for four victories, while the New York Giants and Washington accounted for another four.

Incredibly, only two of those victories were by a single score. The average margin of victory was 19 points.

Parting shot

Josh Allen needs to step up and be counted this summer.

Perhaps no player is under more pressure this year. The Bills signal-caller is entering his third season, and his team has its grandest expectations in a quarter century. And, most believe if Buffalo doesn’t fulfill its promise, Allen will be the reason.

With the New England Patriots sans Tom Brady and both the Miami Dolphins and Jets rebuilding, the road to a home playoff game is clear. Buffalo, which hasn’t hosted a postseason affair since 1996, is loaded with a quality defense and an offense teeming with talent.

Due to COVID-19, OTAs and minicamps were cancelled. Teams with familiarity and cohesion will have enormous advantages over groups with new quarterbacks — such as New England.

Allen has to lead and become a player for other stars to see as worth following.

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