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July 16, 2019

Jets Mailbag: Is Jamal Adams recruiting Le’Veon Bell hurting the Jets?

February 6, 2019

The latest edition of the Jets Mailbag dives deep into the pros and cons of Jamal Adams’ public recruiting, Adam Gase and Gregg Williams’ influence on Mike Maccagnan in free agency and Bilal Powell’s future.

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Jamal Adams is linking up with Le’Veon Bell to talk “business.” Does Adams hold any clout whatsoever? What are your thoughts and do you think anything can come of this?

I have so much respect for Jamal Adams’ loyalty, passion and desire to turn the Jets into a winner one day, but the reality is that he’s the starting safety, not the general manager. So, no. He doesn’t have much clout when it comes to what matters most to free agents: Cold, hard cash.

Adams and Bell might turn into BFFs, but it won’t matter if the Jets don’t pay the Pro Bowl running back what he thinks he’s worth. Although I believe the Jets should make an aggressive play to land Bell, I reported last week that Gang Green won’t break the bank for him. (There’s an important difference between aggressive and reckless).

Adams’ actions, meanwhile, come from a good place. I love that he wants to do whatever he can to attract difference makers like Bell, but I wish he’d do more of his recruiting behind closed doors. I appreciate that he’s just trying to get elite players to see the potential and possibilities that lie with the Jets, but there’s a more discreet – and equally effective — way of making your case to free agents.

Consider: Sam Darnold recently told me that he’s also on the recruiting trail, but he’s making his case to specific players behind the scenes. I think that’s the best way to handle these matters.

Jamal Adams recruiting Le’Veon Bell probably doesn’t hurt, but there might be better ways to do it. (Kathy Willens / AP)

The Jets privately think that Adams’ public approach is harmless, but I believe that it might be a bit much now. Slide into Le’Veon’s DMs. Text him. Call him. The public stuff can put the team in a precarious spot.

Nobody on One Jets Drive has told me this, but I believe that the public nature of it all unwittingly undercuts Mike Maccagnan. In my opinion, it feels like Maccagnan is in a no-win situation. If the Jets land Bell, the perception will be that Adams made it happen. If they don’t get the dynamic running back, it will be Maccagnan’s fault. Just my two cents.

Adams’ energy and enthusiasm are commendable. When was the last time a Jets player outwardly cared so much about this franchise? I just think that there are times when it’s best to channel all that excitement in a more discreet manner.

Regardless, I’m sure Jets fans hope that Adams’ meetup with Bell in La-La Land goes well.

How much influence do you see Adam Gase and Gregg Williams having on who Maccagnan will target in free agency?

I’ve repeatedly said that I think Maccagnan needs to take a stronger stance on personnel matters. He has contractual control of the 53-man roster. He has final say on player procurement. Hell, Woody Johnson signed off on Charley Casserly’s recommendation to hire him because of his ability to identify talent.

That being said, I’m not advocating for Maccagnan to rule with an iron fist. It obviously makes sense for him to build consensus with his coaches. So, I fully expect Maccagnan to give Gase and Williams who and what they’re looking for… within reason. Frankly, there were too many times in the past when Maccagnan bent over backwards for his coaches… and it backfired.

Maccagnan needs to listen to his coaches most during free agency. Gase and Williams know the landscape. They’ve seen the pool of available players up close, so they have a good handle on free agents’ strengths and weaknesses.

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The draft, however, is a different story. NFL coaches join the evaluation process at the eleventh hour. So, Maccagnan needs to trust his eyes and evaluations on college prospects more than the coaches when that time comes.

Do you think Bilal Powell is re-signed?

Powell, 30, has been one of my favorite players to cover in the past decade. He’s a man of few words with a recorder in his face, but when you get him going in private conversation, he gives you terrific insight on the game. He’s always been a smart, hard-working, selfless person and player. Just a solid guy.

He’s the longest tenured Jet. Eight seasons. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.

But I think his days with the Jets are coming to an end.

I’m reminded of that scene from Seinfeld when Elaine and her new three best friends cross paths with Jerry, George and Kramer on the street. George wants to tag along before Elaine delivers the bad news.

“I’m sorry. We’ve already got a George,” she says, pointing to his doppelganger.

Well, these Jets already have a Bilal Powell.

Eli McGuire is a younger version of the dual-threat complementary back. Powell’s age and history of getting nicked up (he required season-ending neck surgery after two games last season) simply can’t be ignored.

Powell always made the most of his (limited) opportunities. He’s an underappreciated class act. You want your kids to emulate a pro athlete? Tell them to look at Powell.

@MMehtaNYDN

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