Yesterday, noted NFL insider Tony Pauline reported that if the Jets were to explore a Jamal Adams trade to the Dallas Cowboys, their main priority in return would be star Right Tackle La’el Collins. I’ll be taking a look at this mock trade from the perspective of both teams.
First, from the Jets perspective. If I’m Joe Douglas, and the Cowboys offer me La’el Collins for Jamal Adams straight up, I’m taking that offer. Collins is 26 years old, and enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, as he just started to enter his prime. Last season, Collins had an 85.8 PFF grade, the 3rd highest grade for any Right Tackle in the NFL, behind only Ryan Ramczyk of the Saints and Mitchell Schwartz of the Chiefs. Joe Douglas has made the offensive line and protecting Sam Darnold the focal point of this entire offseason. Why not put the icing on the cake and acquire a top RT in the NFL who only just started to enter the prime of his career? Yes, they would be giving up Jamal Adams, a 2 time pro bowler and 1st team All-Pro in only 3 seasons. However, not only does Adams not even want to be a Jet, he isn’t doing anything to help Sam Darnold, either. Tackle, even Right Tackle, is a much more valuable position than strong safety. And while Jamal is more than just a safety, he still is not as important as a stud tackle. Additionally, great safeties are much easier to evaluate and draft than great offensive tackles. If LT Mekhi Becton, the Jets 11th overall selection in 2020, pans out, him and La’el Collins would form one of the best tackle duos in the NFL. In the end, even if we have to throw in a day 3 selection (maybe 5th or 6th round), I’m making the trade for Collins if I’m Joe Douglas.
Now, from the Cowboys perspective. From talking to some Cowboys fans on Twitter, they do not like the idea of trading La’el Collins at all. When asked if they would be happy with an Adams for Collins trade straight up, they answered with an emphatic no. However, does Jerry Jones feel the same way? There’s a good chance he might not. The Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team. They are the highest valued NFL franchise by a large margin, at $5.5 billion ($1.4 billion more than the next highest team, the New England Patriots.) The Cowboys have so many prolific stars on the offensive side of the ball that a stud like La’el Collins remains relatively unknown due to being overshadowed by the likes of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Tyron Smith, and Zack Martin. However, the Cowboys have been searching for the transcendent, dynamic piece on defense for a while. They have Demarcus Lawrence, a very good (though overpaid) edge rusher as well as linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. However, they have been searching for a dynamic presence in the secondary for a while. They had it for a bit with Byron Jones, but he mostly flew slightly under the radar in his time with Dallas, before receiving a record contract from the Miami Dolphins in March. Although Jamal Adams plays a traditionally less valuable position than La’el Collins does, adding a transcendent stud and perennial pro bowler and all-pro like Adams would do wonders for the Cowboys. Not only would Adams immediately become the Cowboys best defensive player (yes, better than D-Law), he would also be an excellent addition for Jerry’s business model. A dynamic football player and a hometown kid returning back home would sell a lot of jerseys, and we know how much Jerry values the business side of the game. According to the fans, trading La’el for Jamal would be silly. However, I don’t think its too far-fetched to see Jerry doing it, especially if other teams come in with offers and raise Jamal’s trade price.
In the end, I don’t expect Jamal to be traded at all this offseason. But if an offer like this was put on the table, I think Joe Douglas would have to think long and hard about it, and eventually pull the trigger. Protecting Sam Darnold with a stud tackle is much more important than holding on to a disgruntled strong safety. I would be thrilled as a Jets fan if we acquired La’el Collins.