Jaquiski Tartt

John Lynch explains why 49ers were not in Jamal Adams trade talks

John Lynch explains why 49ers were not in Jamal Adams trade talks

The Seattle Seahawks won because they got the player they coveted for their defensive backfield.

The New York Jets won because they cleaned up with trade compensation from Seattle that included two first-round draft picks.

The 49ers neither won nor lost because they never played the game to acquire safety Jamal Adams, 49ers general manager John Lynch said during an appearance Tuesday morning on KNBR’s Murph & Mac Show.

“Yes, our division is getting better,” Lynch said. “We understand that. That’s why we’re working so hard to get better.”

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One day after he told NBC Sports Bay Area the 49ers never even picked up the phone to inquire about Adams’ availability in a trade, Lynch reiterated why such a move made no sense for the 49ers this offseason. Lynch said any reports the 49ers were interested in Adams were “totally inaccurate.”

“I love it seems to be that every guy that’s up for a trade that we’re involved,” Lynch said. “I love that people talk about the Niners. But I try to be truthful. We’re talking about (George) Kittle. We’re trying to save room for him.

“We’ve got a plan here and Jamal Adams is a tremendous player. No. 1, we feel really good about our guys, Jimmie Ward, who we re-signed this offseason, about Jaquiski Tartt.”

Adams listed the 49ers as a team for which he was interested in playing for upon requesting a trade from New York this offseason.

The Seahawks on Saturday finalized a trade in which they acquired Adams and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft from the Jets for first- and third-round selections in 2021, a first-round pick in 2022 and safety Bradley McDougald.

The 49ers never were considered serious contenders to acquire Adams because they re-signed Ward to a three-year, $28.5 million extension this offseason. Also, the club still is working toward a long-term extension with Kittle. Complicating matters even more, the NFL salary cap is expected to drop from $198.2 million per team this year to $175 million in 2021.

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At a time when the 49ers are trying to control their cap costs, it makes little sense to part with multiple future first-round draft picks for a player whose next contract figures to be in the range of $15 million per season.

“With Jamal Adams, you saw all the trade capital that they had to give up, which the Seahawks – good for them – they made that decision,” Lynch said. “You also got to pay the man. That’s one of the reasons he’s not in New York.

“Being up there against it (the cap) with what’s happening with the camp due to the pandemic, it just wasn’t a reality for us.”

The 49ers are $11.97 million under the salary cap, according to the latest figures from the NFL Players Association.

Jamal Adams would bring to 49ers what they're lacking, per Gil Brandt

Jamal Adams would bring to 49ers what they're lacking, per Gil Brandt

Gil Brandt and Ronnie Lott both are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They also both believe the 49ers should pursue a Jamal Adams trade with the New York Jets.

Brandt, who was vital in the Dallas Cowboys' heyday as an executive, lists the 49ers as one of five teams -- along with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks -- that should try to acquire the star safety. In his eyes, Adams would bring to the 49ers what safety Jaquiski Tartt has not: Health and turnovers. 

Adams, 24, only has missed two games through his three-year NFL career. Tartt, 28, hasn't been as lucky in the health department. He never once has played all 16 games in the regular season and missed four last year due to injury. 

Tartt also has forced only seven turnovers in his five-year career. Adams, an All-Pro last season, has 12 in 13 fewer games. The former No. 6 overall draft pick has two interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in his young career. 

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Adams reportedly listed the 49ers as one of seven teams he would welcome a trade to after feuding with the Jets this offseason. Lott, the greatest safety in 49ers history, believes bringing him to the Bay would be a big win for the reigning NFC champions.

"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's Josh Schrock 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."

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Adams is unlike most safeties. In 2019. receivers gained just 4.5 yards per target against him, per Pro Football Focus. He also is a great blitzer, recording 6.5 sacks last season and 12 in his first three seasons.

It also is unlikely the 49ers acquire him. Adams easily could be flat out too expensive for San Francisco, especially with a long list of free agents on the way, including star tight end George Kittle. Front office, coaches and players like Richard Sherman have shown how much they believe in Tartt as well.

While betting on Adams to wear a 49ers jersey next season doesn't seem like a safe play, it certainly would be huge in their hopes to get back to the Super Bowl.

Two main reasons why 49ers are unlikely to trade for Jets' Jamal Adams

Two main reasons why 49ers are unlikely to trade for Jets' Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and every team would love to have a player like him.

Acquiring him, however, is an entirely different matter.

Adams reportedly requested a trade from the New York Jets this week in the midst of a contract dispute with the team. He is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, which will pay him approximately $3.6 million this coming season. Adams also had his fifth-year option picked up, which will pay him $9.9 million in 2021. He reportedly wants to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL, and has the 49ers on his shortlist of desired destinations.

While there's no question as to why San Francisco would be interested in adding such an immense talent, NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco does not expect it to happen for a number of reasons, but two in particular.

"One of them is, they spent money on Jimmie Ward," Maiocco told NBC Sports' Laura Britt. "They signed him to a three-year, $28.5 million contract this offseason, so I don't know that you would want to pay two safeties up around $10 million per year."

Maiocco's first point is a valid one. The 49ers have tied themselves to Ward for the next three years, and you won't find many successful teams with so much money addressed to the back end. However, it is worth noting that San Francisco's current strong safety, Jaquiski Tartt -- who plays Adams' same position -- is entering the final year of his own contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. 

If he has a strong year, it's entirely possible that Tartt will be offered a free-agent contract worth $10-plus million per season on the open market. If that's the case, the 49ers will be forced to decide between paying up to keep him, or letting him go and replacing him with a cheaper option. In that sense, Adams wouldn't present a current financial issue different from that of Tartt. However, it's the long-term effects of Adams' salary desires that speak to Maiocco's second point.

[RELATED: Sherm calls up Tartt as Jamal Adams trade rumors swirl]

"You have to look at the 49ers and where they are in the cap," Maiocco continued. "This year, entering the final year of their contract, of course, George Kittle -- you're gonna want to resign him. Trent Williams will be a free agent at the end of the season. Richard Sherman, Kyle Juszczyk, Kendrick Bourne at wide receiver, K'Waun Williams -- they have a lot of guys who are coming up on their free-agent years and so I just don't know that they can go out and get a superstar and pay him that kind of money. 

"I think the idea that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will have this next offseason will be to keep as many guys as they can and pay those guys and not necessarily go outside the organization."

Kittle's new contract is expected to obliterate the tight-end market, and Williams could command a large salary as well if he lives up to his previous level of play. In addition to the other notable upcoming free agents Maiocco mentioned, the 49ers also have to look down the road and consider contract extensions for Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and others. All of this is to say that it would be awfully difficult for San Francisco to add Adams without significantly altering the roster.

That's not to say it wouldn't be worth it. If the 49ers went all-in, traded for Adams and went on to win the Super Bowl, it's unlikely you'd hear many complaints. But, they were mere minutes away from winning Super Bowl LIV as it was, so perhaps a drastic shift away from that recipe would be unwise.

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