In retrospect, Dallas Cowboys smart to have passed on Jamal Adams trade

Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

Looking back, it’s clear the Dallas Cowboys did the wise thing by not trading for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.

Not too long ago, Jamal Adams was on the trade block. The Dallas Cowboys wanted Jamal Adams. Most of Cowboys Nation wanted Jamal Adams. Yet, despite that universal desire, a deal couldn’t be struck. And here at the season’s halfway mark, it appears the Cowboys were wise to let Adams go elsewhere.

The Dallas Cowboys are devoid of talent at the safety position so to say Jamal Adams would be an upgrade to what they have now is a massive understatement. But that doesn’t mean they messed up in their failed bid to add him. Sometimes the best move you make is the move you don’t make, and that seems especially true here today.

First, it’s the cost. The Seattle Seahawks sent the Jets two first round picks, a third round pick, and veteran safety Bradley McDougald for Adams and fourth rounder. I don’t have to tell you that’s a ridiculous return for a safety.

To that point, sending multiple first round picks for anyone who doesn’t play the quarterback position is generally regarded as bad business. To do it for a position like safety is an enormous error in a team’s allocation of resources. Safety, even All Pro ones, aren’t thought of as a very valuable in the NFL. Don’t believe me? Just look at franchise tag figures for safeties compared to other positions:

So just superficially, this is a huge overpay for the safety position considering the league collective considers it the fourth-least valuable (replaceable) position. When you zoom in and look specifically at the Dallas Cowboys, it becomes even more costly because Dallas currently has a top-3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Can you imagine how dark things would be in Cowboys Nation if fans didn’t even have the comfort of a high draft pick to look to right now?

Granted, the Dallas Cowboys would be a better team with Adams on it – but how much better?

Adams hasn’t looked like his old self in Seattle. Remember how much Earl Thomas regressed when he left the only system ever knew, to play on a new team with a new scheme? Adams has similarly looked like less of a player in his new surroundings.

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While Adams is still a beast crashing the backfield and rushing the passer, he’s not so fantastic in other areas of his game. Pro Football Focus graded just his coverage with a 49.0 coverage grade (77th among NFL safeties). For reference, Xavier Woods, who’s been far from stellar in coverage in Dallas, is ranked 25th.

The raw numbers support this decline as well. Adams is posting career worsts across the board: He’s allowing 75% completion percentage against him, 13.6 yards per target, a 116.7 passer rating when targeted, and a missed tackle percentage of 12.5%.

Keep in mind, Jamal Adams is seeking to be the highest paid safety in the NFL. And after the ‘Hawks paid such a king’s ransom to get him, you can bet they’ll feel obligated to pay it (much like the Cowboys did with Amari Cooper). So this is getting more costly by the day.

The Dallas Cowboys are lucky the Jets’ demands got out of hand and forced them out of the bidding war because the Seahawks are in an ugly situation with Adams right now. Granted, the team is doing fantastic and if they win a Super Bowl, any and every cost will have been worth it. But as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, one first round pick would have been too much and they were wise to resist the urge to swing for the fences on this trade.

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Jamal Adams is a great NFL player but the Dallas Cowboys dodged a bullet by not trading for him this year and are much better served having all their picks – even if their cupboard is bare at safety

  • Published on 11/12/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/14/2020 at 13:54 PM