A month ago, the rumors of the Jets trading one of the best safeties in the NFL, Jamal Adams, was hotter than ever. Since then, things have settled, and New York agreed to pick up the fifth-year option to his rookie deal up. That’s not where the drama is going to end, however. According to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, the Jets have had trade talks with unknown teams and destinations for safety Marcus Maye.
He hasn’t “officially” landed on the trade list. However, as with Adams, likely, Joe Douglas is at least fielding calls for the former Florida defensive back.
Since the Jets drafted him with the 39th pick in 2017, Maye has been a cornerstone of the Jets defense. The duo of him and Adams seemed to be one of the guarantees for the starting list of the 2020 Jets.
Last year, Maye entered the year after missing time with injuries in 2018 and recorded seven defended passes, which was a career-high. On the other hand, he allowed a passer rating of 103.8 when in coverage. His previous figure in that department – during 2018 – was 86.7, but lack of playing time and just 13 targets discredit that accomplishment.
Could Douglas try and exploit Maye’s high value before he regresses (things like last year’s passer rating don’t downplay that possibility)? If anything, the Jets selecting Ashtyn Davis in the third round, although that could be to use him as a cornerback, might indicate a trade is closer than it seems.
Ashtyn Davis, a senior out of California, is very similar to Maye and could prove to be the perfect replacement. The former track star has enough experience as a high safety. He seemingly could handle the heat even with the Jets stacking the box and Adams blitzing very frequently.
Still, that move doesn’t do much improvement. Firstly, despite Davis’s high ceiling, he could provide next-to-minimal improvement at the position should he be an immediate starter. Secondly, Maye’s trade value doesn’t resemble a particularly high pick, so it allows for little upside for a significant risk. Then again, with the draft gone, no matter the scale of the upgrade, it won’t reflect the 2020 season—a season with much hope for contention.
This is the problem. Keeping Maye and utilizing Davis as a safety and a corner gives the team much more depth and retains quality. Maye and Adams will be tough to co-exist when both enter Douglas’s office to demand big deals. Nevertheless, the 2020 season, for the first time in a while, allows the Jets to contend. Trading either Maye or Adams would squander their chances in a wide-open AFC East.
The deal could be good if Douglas gets teams to overpay and give an early pick in 2021 in return. Still, if the Jets are to compete, they better keep Maye.
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