Programming note: Watch the REACH Scholarship Awards hosted by Ronnie Lott and Brandi Chastain on Tuesday, June 23, at 5 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming here.
The 49ers had one of the NFL's best defenses last season, but Jamal Adams could make it the most-feared unit in the league.
The New York Jets star safety reportedly has requested a trade, and has the 49ers on the list of teams to which he'd like to be dealt. Trading for Adams won't be easy to pull off, but Hall of Fame safety and 49ers legend Ronnie Lott believes acquiring Adams would be a winning move for general manager John Lynch and Co.
"All I know is this, I've been following him and I've been watching him, and if they could get him, that would be, in my mind, a huge, huge win for John Lynch," Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday. "When you think of a guy of his stature, knowing how he loves the game and his commitment to the game, he's going to make a locker room better. He's the kind of guy that's just going to make the locker room better.
"So, yeah if they can get [him], they might as well -- to me, I'm the kind of guy that if you want to win, you find ways to get these kind of moments done."
There's no doubt Adams is one of the NFL's elite safeties. In 2019. receivers gained just 4.5 yards per target against Adams, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked in the top quarter of the NFL in yards per coverage snap at 0.31.
Adams also is a great blitzer, collecting 47 pressures from the safety position, and was one of the best blitzers at the position in the NFL.
Acquiring Adams would put the 49ers in an awkward position financially. If they trade for Adams, they would do so with a contract extension in mind, not wanting to be put in a situation like the Seattle Seahawks faced with Jadeveon Clowney, where they traded assets for what could end up being a one-year rental. A long-term extension for Adams likely would see him get around $15 million per year (Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson has the highest annual safety salary at $14.6 million). That kind of extension would complicate financial matters for the 49ers, who still have to work out a contract extension with George Kittle and must think about future deals for Nick Bosa and Trent Williams.
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Any Adams trade feels like a long shot for the 49ers at the moment. But there's little doubt that adding a player of his caliber to an already-loaded defense would make the 49ers even tougher to beat as they eye a return to the Super Bowl.
To Lott, Adams is among the elite players in the NFL, and his mere presence will elevate those around him to greater heights.
Adams wants to leave the Empire State for the Bay, and one of the greatest safeties in NFL history believes that should be enough for the 49ers to make a deal.
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