The Jets wanted to reunite Adams with former Green Bay Packers teammate Aaron Rodgers, add another wide receiver to complement Garrett Wilson and send a clear signal that they were doing everything possible to win this season.
Trading for Adams was a move the Jets had debated, discussed and planned for throughout the summer, sources told ESPN, as New York was waiting for the right moment to reach out to Las Vegas to land the three-time All-Pro.
But the Raiders, less than a day removed from a Monday night loss to the Detroit Lions and just hours before firing coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, told the Jets they were not interested in trading Adams, just as another source had said earlier Tuesday that there "was no chance in hell" that Las Vegas would trade away the six-time Pro Bowler.
McDaniels and Ziegler -- the same people who signed off on the decision to reject the Jets' request -- were out of a job before the end of the day. Now, instead of trading for Adams, the Jets will have to face him next Sunday night, as the NFL has decided not to opt out of the Nov. 12 prime-time Jets-Raiders game.
Adams said Thursday that "it was time" for the Raiders to make "some sort of change" but noted that he wants to "try to make this work and do everything I can to keep it going now."
One league source told ESPN that it would be interesting to think what might have happened if Raiders owner Mark Davis had fired McDaniels and Ziegler immediately after Monday night's 26-14 loss, setting in motion a sea of changes before the 4 p.m. ET Tuesday trade deadline rather than after it.
But it did not happen that way, and the Raiders' brain trust, now out of jobs, was not interested in the Jets' advances, even as some around New York's organization waited to see whether general manager Joe Douglas could pull off the deal.
"We made a lot of calls on a lot of different positions," Douglas said earlier this week. "But it takes two to tango. We made a lot of calls, but we didn't get a lot of deals done."
One reason the Jets were able to make calls is because of Rodgers' willingness to give back $35 million last summer, reducing the $110 million he was owed on his two-year deal to $75 million.
Over the summer while scrimmaging against Tampa Bay, the Jets also asked about the availability of star receiver Mike Evans, only to be told the Buccaneers were unwilling to deal him, according to league sources.
Undeterred, the Jets continued swinging big.
During an appearance last Tuesday on "The Pat McAfee Show," Rodgers hinted that there might be some big moves before the deadline, indicating he knew what the Jets were trying to do before the Raiders ultimately rejected them.
After their only move Tuesday was to sign former Pro Bowl guard Rodger Saffold, the Jets might end up wondering what might have been if they had been able to provide a significant boost to their offense.