That, however, remains to be seen. The Jets could try to negotiate with Maye on an extension after the season — something the safety acknowledged he’d be open to. They could also choose to place the franchise tag on him again, preventing him from becoming a free agent. And that could cause further tension.
The New York Jets safety received the franchise tag in March, but he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a deal before the deadline on July 15. That means Maye will play on the tag amount of $10.6 million this season — and then everything is up in the air beyond that. “I’ll play where I’m welcome,” Maye said Saturday in his first meeting with reporters since last season. “I was drafted here. I’d love to be here.” Maye could also try to force a trade, similar to what happened last summer with his buddy and former Jets safety Jamal Adams.
“I’ve got 17 weeks to be the best that I can be,” Maye said. “And then once we get to that point, we’ll cross that line again.” Maye has established himself as one of the NFL’s top free safeties and shown enough versatility to play various spots in the secondary. A second-rounder out of Florida in 2017 — after Adams went in the first round — Maye could have been a free agent during the offseason until general manager Joe Douglas and the Jets placed the franchise tag on him.
Maye said a deal was “not close enough to get done,” and was asked whether he believes the Jets treated him fairly or unfairly during the negotiations. “Somewhere in the middle,” Maye acknowledged. “But from my end, I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t satisfied.” Maye said he speaks with Adams frequently, and saw what his former teammate experienced before being traded to Seattle. He’s not sure if he — like Adams — is no longer in the Jets’ long-term plans or not valued as much as he believes he should be.
“It’s tough to say,” he said. “I’m not in their meetings.” Maye has watched as some of the NFL’s top safeties received big deals over the last year or so, including Denver’s Justin Simmons, Arizona’s Budda Baker and Chicago’s Eddie Jackson. And Maye believes he should be paid like them. “I feel like I’m right there with all of them,” he said.
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