Joe Douglas’ handling of Jamal Adams drama tells us everything
Joe Douglas won’t be featured in any pantyhose commercials, or be spotted around Florham Park wearing a fur coat, or socially distancing outside a bar on the Upper East Side after midnight.
But now, in the wake of star safety Jamal Adams mouthing his way out of town, and after nine consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, the Jets desperately need this general manager to be the kind of leader in the front office that Joe Namath was on the field once upon a time … until such time as he can get Sam Darnold more help and pass the baton to him.
Don’t fret, Jets fans: This is the right man for the job.
Even after Adams trashed Woody Johnson for those alleged racist and sexist remarks, even after he knee-capped Adam Gase for his leadership skills, even after he pleaded with Cowboys players to help make him a Cowboy, even after Adams railed against him for lying and for a failure to communicate, Douglas would still have tried to make peace with Adams when training camp began Tuesday, would have tried to figure out a way to work and make him a Jet For Life, in the best interests of the franchise.
“I never promised an offer to Jamal, or his agent, nor was I ever dishonest or ambiguous at any communications with their camp. … I feel like our communication was very clear from the very beginning,” Douglas said.
That makes him the big man here, in every possible way, and Adams the small man.
Adams can now happily be a Seahawk For Life because a pair of No. 1 picks, a No. 3 pick and safety Bradley McDougald for a malcontent and a No. 4 pick was an offer no GM tasked with rebuilding would ever in his right mind refuse.
“The onus is on us to hit on these picks moving forward,” Douglas said.
Of course it is. Douglas gets way-too-early good reviews for his first Jets draft — tackle Mekhi Becton, wide receiver Denzel Mims — and learning at the feet of former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and Eagles GM Howie Roseman should offer legitimate hope that he will have a better batting average with his four first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 than John Idzik and Mike Maccagnan had previously, even if that task gets harder if there is limited or no college football because of the pandemic.
“He’s a scout’s scout,” current Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said last year. “He knows how to find players, and he’s able to explain those players and describe those players to people, not with a lot of ego, not with a loud voice, but in a very sensible way. As an executive, that’s what you want.”
It would have been a Namathian miracle, of course, for Douglas to fix all that ails the Jets in his 15 months on the job.
Douglas will be looking for a few good men — more than a few good men — to fill the locker room with players intent on being part of the solution instead of part of the problem that is instrumental in building any winning culture.
“Every person deserves to be judged by the content of their individual character, and there’s no room here for people who think otherwise,” Douglas said.
That undoubtedly would have been his message to Adams had there been no trade. Along with the fact that it would have been fiscally irresponsible to show Adams the money — $15 million-plus in average annual value — with two years left on his deal during a pandemic, especially when Darnold will need a big-ticket extension after the season, if there is one.
“With where we were with the uncertainty at the time of not knowing what the full economic picture was gonna look like, we just weren’t in position to do anything immediately,” Douglas said.
Another huge item on Douglas’ agenda down the road will be the fate of Gase, who has plenty to prove.
“I especially believe in Coach Gase. I feel he’s the right coach to lead this team,” Douglas said.
We’ll see. In the meantime, Douglas believes he has a hungry, motivated team eager to prove its 6-2 second half last season was not a fluke. Easy to say when you’re 0-0, of course.
“We are trying to build this the right way,” Douglas said, “and I think this deal helps us do that. We’re working to build a foundation of great players and great people … and building the right culture, and having the right chemistry in the building.”
Joe Douglas versus Jets history: The irresistible force versus the immovable object.
“We are doing everything and working tirelessly to get the right people in this building,” Douglas said.
No guarantees, 51 seasons after Broadway Joe.
But it all starts with the right GM in that building.
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