Coming from someone who has lost track of how many times he begged the Cowboys to trade for Earl Thomas, the all-world safety, this is hard to admit.
But the Jets wanted too much for Jamal Adams.
A first-rounder and two seconds for a safety?
Adams, the former Hebron and LSU star, a Pro Bowl safety in only his second season with the Jets, would have been a significant upgrade for a team that’s been lacking at the position since Roy Williams became obsolete.
The Cowboys have complicated matters with their official position that safety isn’t a priority in the draft. Which is why in the second round of this year’s draft, they took defensive tackle Trysten Hill — who can’t get on the field — instead of safety Juan Thornhill, who’s started every game this season for the Chiefs. Even has a touchdown-stopping interception.
Adams is certainly better than Thornhill and might even be as good as Thomas, though they play different positions. The asking price for Thomas never climbed so high for two reasons: He’s 30, and he signed a deal with Baltimore in the offseason that pays him $55 million over four years.
Adams is only 24 and still under terms of the rookie contract the Jets gave him after taking him with the sixth pick of the 2017 draft. He’s certainly lived up to that pedigree. He’s a fast, physical force who can play either strong or free safety, and he’d give the Cowboys stars at each level of the defense.
But three top picks?
The Jets were no doubt trying to capitalize on the spending frenzy that picked up in earnest this season. First, the Dolphins got two first-rounders and a second from the Texans for Laremy Tunsil. Then, the Jaguars got two firsts and a fourth from the Rams for Jalen Ramsey.
Here’s the difference: Tunsil plays left tackle, which is the second-most important position on the field, behind quarterback. Defensive end is third. Cornerback is fourth.
Safety? The Cowboys aren’t the only team that doesn’t take it seriously. Safety isn’t just the last line of defense. It’s also last at the pay window.
Of course, you could also argue that the last touchstone to the Cowboys’ glory days was Darren Woodson, maybe the best safety in the organization’s history.
Note to Cliff Harris: I said “maybe.”
As good as Adams is, a first and a pair of seconds is too rich for my blood. Chances are this isn’t the end of the story, though. Thomas was a frequent column topic. If the price comes down, Adams might fill some space.