The Seattle Seahawks know they missed out on an NFC West title by inches last season, coming up less than a yard short of a division-clinching win against the 49ers in Week 17.
Seattle also knows the 49ers' biggest advantage over them comes in the form of tight end George Kittle, the type of explosive playmaker that can change the flow of a game in an instant. In order to stop Kittle, or at least match up better with him, the Seahawks knew they had to improve their safety group and add an equally dynamic player on the other side of the ball to mitigate Kittle's impact.
The Seahawks traded a 2021 first-round and third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald to the New York Jets for star safety Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick. The Seahawks have been criticized for giving up too much in the trade, but Seattle general manager John Schneider believes it was a necessary move for his team to match up with Kittle and the other dynamic athletes in the NFC West.
"We needed to get faster on our team this year, especially on defense, and I feel like we have done that," Schneider told NBC Sports' Peter King on "The Peter King Podcast." "If you look at the National Football League now, especially our division, with all the crossers and talented tight ends that we have, it's important Ugo [Amadi] and [Marquise] Blair and [Quandre] Diggs and now Jamal, it's a really good group. We also have Lano Hill who two years ago was playing ... at a very, very high level three games in a row and then had a very serious hip injury. He's had a really nice offseason so we're looking forward to seeing him as well.
"But you have to have so much speed on the back, especially when we're playing against Kyler Murray and George Kittle and Robert Woods and all these guys that seem like they are just running all over the place. You've got to have as much speed on the field. So adding a guy like Jamal who has that versatility to play down in the box and play in the hole and play man coverage is really important to us."
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To be sure, the Seahawks gave up a ton to acquire a player who will ask them to back up the Brinks truck for an extension after this season. But that's the price of acquiring young, game-changing talent in today's NFL. The Seahawks have the second-best quarterback in the league in Russell Wilson and need to start surrounding him with the requisite talent in order to maximize his prime.
The 49ers' roster, as a whole, is better than the Seahawks' group. But Wilson's talent makes the talent gap disappear, as we saw last season. The 49ers and Seahawks played one game that was decided in overtime and one that came down to the final play of regulation. Kittle gave the 49ers the biggest advantage over the Seahawks. Instead of trying to add to their tight end group to shrink that gap, the Seahawks opted to add one of the best safeties in the NFL to make life harder for Kittle when the two teams meet.
Adams is an athletic, versatile safety who excels in a number of roles. His arrival in Seattle undoubtedly shrinks the gap between the two rivals even further.
The Seahawks gave the Jets a haul for Adams. Such is life in today's NFL.
Seattle has an elite quarterback, but the 49ers are a massive roadblock in their path to a Super Bowl. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best and the 49ers are the kings of the NFC West. Schneider and the Seahawks are hoping Adams flips the fight in their favor.