The vibes of the 49ers' offseason and training camp stand in stark contrast to that of their archrivals. While things arguably are going even better than reasonably could have been expected for San Francisco, the same cannot be said for the Seattle Seahawks.
Trey Lance is getting rave reviews. The 49ers' roster appears to be one of the deepest in the league. And the crucial contract negotiations that San Francisco entered the offseason with were settled in record-breaking fashion and ought to keep both the team and its key players on both sides of the ball very satisfied moving forward.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, don't have a first-round pick to be excited about. Quarterback Russell Wilson has been critical of the offensive system and his support structure. And Seattle's two most critical contract negotiations not only remain unsettled, but appear to be having lingering consequences.
Outside of possibly linebacker Bobby Wagner, there isn't a better or more important Seahawks' defensive player than safety Jamal Adams, whom they acquired from the New York Jets last summer for two first-round picks -- which is why they don't have one this year -- a third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald. It was a hefty price to pay for the All-Pro, but in his first season with the Seahawks, Adams proved he was worth it.
But that wasn't the only price the Seahawks had to pay for Adams. Particularly after giving up what they did to acquire him, they must sign him to a contract extension, and Adams has made no secret about his expectation of a record-breaking deal. Thus far, though, he hasn't received it, and consequently, he has exhibited his frustration by sitting out all of Seattle's training camp practices thus far.
He's not the only one. Wilson's top offensive lineman, left tackle Duane Brown, also wants a lucrative new contract, and he has sat out all of the practices as well. Like Adams, Brown is entering the final year of his current contract, and while the 36-year-old is a high priority for the Seahawks, he logically falls behind Adams in the hierarchy.
As NBC Sports' Peter King detailed in his "Football Morning in America" column on Monday, the Seahawks, to a certain extent, have backed themselves into a corner, and that is directly impacting both negotiations.
"Here’s the problem: Seattle’s got a few vets (Adams and left tackle Duane Brown most notably) who are under contract but who want new contracts," King wrote. "I hear the Seahawks have stretched themselves quite a bit for Adams, but he’s still not happy with the offer, and if you know Seattle’s negotiating stance, it’s not likely the offer’s going to change much now. Seattle is the perfect spot for him, as one of two leaders (with Bobby Wagner) of a Super Bowl contender on defense, with a coach who treats veterans like treasure. So we’ll see if Adams takes the deal.
"But the larger issue for Seattle and how it can pay players is that the cap went up, beginning in 2014, $10 million, $10 million, $12 million, $12 million, $10 million, $11 million and $10 million … before dropping by $16 million per team, to $182.5 million this year. So vet-heavy teams like Seattle are getting squeezed. It’s great to get high-performing vets, even those who cost two first and one second-round pick like Adams. But if they don’t figure a way to keep Adams, and keep him happy, that trade will be a disaster."
Two things seem equally likely. First, and most importantly for the Seahawks, is that they'll come to their senses and give Adams what he wants. He has all of the leverage, and they surely don't want his impending free agency hanging over the team all season long.
Secondly, and relatedly, it appears highly improbable that Seattle will also sign Brown to a contract extension. The salary cap will prove prohibitive to such a deal, meaning the 14-year veteran likely will play out the final year of his current contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Wilson already has publicly applied pressure on the organization to get a Brown extension done, and if that doesn't come to fruition, the whole situation has the potential to unravel.
Winning tends to cure all, and yes, the Seahawks still have plenty of top-end talents. But some of their most important players aren't happy and aren't practicing, and the longer that takes to resolve, the more the 49ers stand to indirectly benefit.