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All the Jets did at the trade deadline was piss off their best player

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If Jamal Adams wasn’t for sale, then the Jets should’ve hung up the phone.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A fire sale would’ve made perfect sense for the New York Jets. The team is 1-6 and new general manager Joe Douglas is in charge of fixing that.

Douglas was hired by the Jets in June, so he wasn’t the one who signed running back Le’Veon Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal or linebacker C.J. Mosley to a five-year, $85 million deal. He didn’t make any of the team’s draft picks either. It would’ve been perfectly logical for him to get rid of some of the priciest contracts on the roster in exchange for more draft picks and cap space. The team isn’t making the playoffs anyway.

That sure looked like the plan when defensive lineman Leonard Williams was traded to the Giants one day before the trade deadline in exchange for third- and fifth-round picks. A mostly unproductive player who was headed for free agency was turned into draft capital. Well done.

But, wow, did the Jets mess up the next day.

Instead of making any deals, the Jets let the rumor mill run wild, and it alienated the best player on the roster.

Jamal Adams’ name should’ve never popped up

Less than three hours before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline on Tuesday, reports surfaced that Adams was a hot commodity on the market. The Cowboys and the Ravens were the two teams reportedly in the mix for Adams, but no deal got done.

“When a team calls you, you should always listen” is how Douglas explained the rumors.

While that makes sense, good luck explaining it to Adams, who had to sit back and watch as reporters said the Jets were close to shipping him out of town.

And therein lies the problem with having “productive conversations” about a player you don’t actually intend to trade. Trying to swindle a team into paying a king’s ransom is cool, but unless there’s a realistic chance you’re trading the player, hang up the freakin’ phone, man!

The Jets should’ve followed the Cincinnati’s lead instead. The Bengals probably got calls about A.J. Green, but at least they took a hardline stance and didn’t make it look like they were ready to ditch the player. And it’s really a problem for the Jets when the 0-8 Bengals look like a smart team by comparison.

Adams made that exact point Wednesday, although he chose a couple of extreme examples that probably belong in another stratosphere.

Still, all Douglas accomplished was creating a frayed relationship with a player who should be a cornerstone for the next decade.

Adams is the only defensive player the Jets have had in the Pro Bowl in the last two seasons. He’s a 24-year-old dynamo in the secondary who makes the Jets much better against both the run and the pass. Simply put, he’s one of the best safeties in the game.

Adams will be in the fourth year of his rookie contract next season and the Jets will have the chance to pick up his fifth-year option. That’s become a contentious time in the career of young star players in the NFL.

For quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, the offseason after their third season landed them gigantic extensions. The Cowboys gave Ezekiel Elliott a sizable contract at that time too after he pressured the team with a lengthy holdout. Jalen Ramsey’s frustrations with the Jaguars boiled over when he was in his fourth season and it eventually got him traded to the Rams.

The Jets are coming up on extension time for Adams, and their chances of amicably reaching a deal look much worse now than they did a few days before the trade deadline. And he wasn’t the only one.

Sam Darnold is the only player on the Jets who should feel safe

The other two names from the team that floated around in trade rumors prior to the deadline were Le’Veon Bell and Robby Anderson. But both players released videos that showed they were pretty happy with how things shook out.

Bell asked Jets fans to have patience with the team and praised Douglas for how he’s handing the rebuild:

Anderson posted a clip from The Wolf of Wall Street that summed it all up: He’s not leaving.

But here’s the thing: He’s probably leaving. Anderson is due to become a free agent in the offseason and nothing about the team’s actions suggest he’s a player it plans on extending. The Jets reportedly “made it clear to teams” that Anderson was available via trade, but didn’t move him because the best offer was a fourth-round pick.

Anderson is averaging just three receptions, despite getting targeted just over six times per game. He only has one touchdown in 2019, and doesn’t seem like a building block that the Jets will prioritize in the offseason.

Bell is a player that Adam Gase didn’t want the team to sign in free agency in the first place. There’s still a chance the Jets could trade Bell in the offseason — especially with a good chunk of his guaranteed salary already paid out and Douglas essentially telling reporters that he’s expendable.

Bell is only managing 3.2 yards per carry, although the fact that he’s even got that many behind an offensive line that’s providing no room is a testament to his ability.

The worst player on the Jets in the last couple weeks has been Sam Darnold, who threw seven interceptions in the team’s losses to the Patriots and the Jaguars. But New York has hitched its trailer to the 22-year-old quarterback, for better or worse. At times that looks like a promising situation, but he’s still only played 17 games and his 2019 season has been defined by an increasingly odd list of maladies.

After the 29-15 loss to Jacksonville in Week 8, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that Adam Gase was already in danger of losing the locker room just half a season into his first year with the team. Douglas dumped fuel on that fire with his poor mishandling of the trade deadline Tuesday.