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How the Dallas Cowboys could Make a Jamal Adams Contract Work

With less than a week before the begins and again, an All-Pro has been connected to the . Just like two years ago leading up to the draft when the Dallas Cowboys spoke with then Safety , the buzz is growing toward a fever pitch for another All-Pro safety.

This time, it's of the .

In the fall, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys made a concerted effort to acquire the All-Pro safety from the New York Jets for draft pick compensation. Unfortunately, it never really seemed like the Jets were interested in dealing as they set the price so high that the Dallas Cowboys eventually backed off.

Whether it was two firsts a second and either or , or a first and two seconds, both price tags were out of range of what the Dallas Cowboys were willing to pay for Jamal Adams.

Like Earl Thomas, Jamal Adams is seeking a from the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2017, and he's done nothing but make plays for New York while they've floundered. The Jets seem reluctant to pay that man his money, and again, the Dallas Cowboys may have an opportunity to and sign Adams, who would be an impact player for their .

The big questions are, how much would the Dallas Cowboys have to pay, and could they afford him?

To answer the first question, we're looking at the top safety contracts over at

In January, the signed Safety Eddie Jackson to a five-year extension paying him an average annual salary of $14.6 million for the life of the contract. Kevin Byard, , and each have an average yearly value on their contracts at $14 million a year. Therefore the number for Jamal Adams would likely have to start at or above $14 million a year.

Jamal Adams believes he's the best safety in the NFL. While that's a subjective argument, most would say he's one of the best safeties in the NFL. His versatility in coverage and as a blitzer makes him extremely valuable. He's more than “just a .”

The Dallas Cowboys would likely have to consider a contract that would make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL at around $15 million a year. Yes, that's a lot of money, but you're getting playmaking, , and the right kind of guy for that money. He'd be an immediate impact player for the Dallas Cowboys.

Currently, the Dallas Cowboys have a little more than $13 million in cap space per Their rookie pool allotment, which is based on where they're selecting, is a little more than $7 million. Per, the Cowboys would need to have at least $3 million in cap space to account for their rookies since each rookie signed would replace a player that counts in their effective cap space or the top 51 contracts on the team.

So the Cowboys effectively have $10 million to work with right now if you take the money needed to sign the rookies away. To get Jamal Adams in at $15 million a year and stay compliant with the , you'd only need another $5 million.

There are several ways the Dallas Cowboys could clear up another $5 million in cap space.

First, if they were to trade for Adams, they could structure a long-term contract extension to have a year one cap hit low enough to get him under the salary cap and still have some money to work with. Remember, while the salary cap is a hard cap in the NFL, the contracts are pliable and can be molded to pay the player and work for the team.

Secondly, they could sign to a long-term contract.

Though Dak Prescott has yet to sign the , once the Cowboys place the tag on Prescott, that put a hold on $31 million on the cap, per Until a long-term agreement is reached, the Cowboys have to account for the franchise tag.

When the Cowboys and Prescott reach an agreement, they could structure the contract in such a way to lower the year-one cap hit to be significantly less than the $31 million in cap space he currently counts for 2020. They could structure his year one cap hit at say $26 million, and that would help them save $5 million on their freeing up space to pay Jamal Adams.

Third, they could restructure 's contract to lower his 2020 cap hit from $20 million. If they were to restructure Cooper's contract to lower his cap hit in 2020 to say $10 million, the $10 million difference would then be spread out over the final four years of his contract. His base salaries would then be $22.5 million over the final four years instead of $20 million.

The final options have to do with . They could cut him, which they probably won't do. And they could ask him to take a pay cut. Crawford has reportedly said he'd be willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Dallas Cowboys, but the Dallas Cowboys are unlikely to ask him to do so.

While the excitement has grown about the possible addition of Jamal Adams, it still seems improbable that a trade would come to fruition. The New York Jets would have to lower their reported asking price as I don't think the Dallas Cowboys would be interested in paying three draft picks for Jamal Adams.

However, as Mike Fisher of Cowboys Maven on SI writes, the Dallas Cowboys have been and are still interested in acquiring Jamal Adams to play safety for them. Even though they've added in , they've shown interest in safeties and , and both remain possibilities for the Dallas Cowboys at 17th overall.

The Dallas Cowboys have been through this before only not to pull the trigger. The difference here is that the Cowboys are pursuing a safety entering the prime of his career.

Jamal Adams is one of the best in the game and is only 24 years old (turns 25 in October) and has three years of experience under his belt. Much like the Amari Cooper trade back in 2018, the Cowboys can feel confident about sending a first-round pick for a player that is one of the best at his position because he's got a lot of years left to play. There's a strong likelihood that the player would see the end of his contract.

Jamal Adams is a player worth trading for, and he's a player worth paying. It wouldn't even take much cap maneuvering to fit a new long-term contract extension under the salary cap. And with the cap expected to make a significant jump over the next two years, the Cowboys can afford Jamal Adams and his big-time contract.

John Williams
John Williams
Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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As much as I’d like Adams anchoring our back half of the secondary. It just seems like a bad future plan for securing proven talents and keeping them down the road and not being able to resign them because of cap restrictions. Mckinney or delpit aren’t Adams caliber but anything above heath is gonna be an improvement. Even if it’s a Chinn or Dugger. I wouldnt want to handcuff our future financials.


cooper’s cap hit is $12 mil this year, not $20 mil. Regardless, you can’t restructure the contract in the same year it was signed. You should know better.

Chuck Wright

2 1sts??????

No thanks, not to go along with top player $$$$$.

If we’re going to spend that, get another bad mamma jamma DE and instantly the secondary is better.

Cowboys fan

The secondary don’t get better because of the edge rushers, the edge rushers get better cause of the secondary!! The edge rushers can’t get to the QB if we don’t have a secondary to cover the receivers!!


You have no idea what your talking about…good pass rush means secondary doesn’t hv to cover as long as they would if opposing qbs hv all day to throw….stupid….and all those exclamation marks over a point that is totally backwards…..go find a new team to


It works both ways dipshit…. all those points you thought you were making…. stupid

Cowboys fan

And I think we need to leave Jamal Adams alone!! He’s not worth that much draft capital plus a contract!! I think I’d rather take my chances in the draft!! Actually I’d rather have Xavier Mckinney than Adams!!

Ben Miller

Woo Hoo! A voice of reason!

Ben Miller

NO NO NO! S’s are not worth that kind of money! Dallas is covered this year with Xavier, HaHa, Donovan Wilson, and Thomas. Add a draft pick in round 2-3 and sign Reshod Jones to a 1 year deal.. Jones has been remarkably productive and even at 32 has shown no sign of slowing down.

Willie Bell

This type of p/u will equivalent to the Deion Sanders acquisition. An impact playmaker in the secondary, much like the Honey Badger did for the Chiefs. #33 in the blue and silver!


Thank u willie….yea if u wana be 8-8 every year lets just keep doing what we hv been….Hell no…Willie got it right


Plus the cap us about to go up anyway…dominate at all 3 levels of the D…if we can get LB from OU we plus Adams and our D line esp if Gregory and Smith give us anything at all we hv a scary defense….Lewis and Ha Ha….lmao…theres a reason Ha Ha has been with 3 teams already….hes trash


Ready and willing now. Lets GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

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