It has been no secret that current Jets safety Jamal Adams is unhappy with his situation in New York. On Friday, he reiterated his desire to be dealt and among the teams that have been mentioned as potential landing spots are the Buccaneers.
— Full Press Buccaneers (@FPC_Buccaneers) June 20, 2020
Being sought out by star players isn’t the norm for Tampa but it should be something to get used to in the immediate future. We saw it with Antonio Brown shortly after Tom Brady arrived in the Bay. That didn’t pan out, however, acquiring tight end Rob Gronkowski did after he expressed his desire to play in Tampa with Brady once again.
Could Jamal Adams be next?
The Bucs added safety Antoine Winfield Jr in the draft but still have question marks in that position group. From a football standpoint, the addition of Adams is a no-brainer. He would instantly upgrade arguably the weakest area of the Bucs team that is essentially Super Bowl or bust. If only it were that simple.
Adams costs $7.17 million against the cap in 2020 and $9.7 million in 2021 according to Spotrac.com. The Bucs only have $5.1 million available so, right of the bat, they would have to shed salary in order to fit him on the team. Could O.J. Howard and his $3.53 million be an option? Perhaps. But that would only be the starting point as the Jets would likely expect a haul of draft picks in addition to any player they may receive in a hypothetical trade.
Now, even if the Bucs were able to free up enough space this year to add Adams and they were willing to pay the price in draft capital, they would still be facing an impending issue in 2021.
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Currently, the Bucs have $56.51 million available in 2021 and that seems like a reasonable amount to try and fit Adams’ $9.8 million cap hit in. However, the Bucs have a number of key players approaching unrestricted free agency next offseason. In addition, to Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett, and Lavonte David, the Bucs will have to make decisions on guys like Ndamukong Suh and Rob Gronkowski. Both free agents after the season.
Adams entered the league in 2017 as the sixth overall pick by the New York Jets. His first two seasons he played under current Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in his final two seasons as the Jets head coach. Under Bowles, Adams tallied 198 tackles, 18 for a loss, and appeared in his first of two career Pro Bowls. In 2019, under Adam Gase, Adams again went to the Pro Bowl in addition to hist first First-Team All-Pro selection.
If there were a team that makes sense to take a gamble on Adams, it would be the Bucs. His contract fits within the Bucs Brady-window which includes not only Super Bowl hopes but expectations. Adding Adams would instantly improve a secondary that plays behind the league’s best run defense. The secondary will already get a boost with Brady under center. Adding Adams would put them over the top.
Will the Buccaneers risk it? I believe you know Bruce Arians’ answer to that question.