New York Jets

NFL rumors: 49ers, Seahawks have discussed Jamal Adams trade with Jets

NFL rumors: 49ers, Seahawks have discussed Jamal Adams trade with Jets

Back in May, I suggested the 49ers should pursue a trade for New York Jets star safety Jamal Adams. Then, last month, he formally requested a trade from his incumbent team and included San Francisco on the shortlist of teams he would welcome a trade to.

Acquiring a player of Adams' ilk would be challenging to say the least. Prohibitive, perhaps. It likely would cost more than a pretty penny in assets, and then there's the matter of paying him what he wants. The entire impetus for his trade demand is that he deservedly wants to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL, and he is dissatisfied with the Jets for dragging their feet.

I get it. The 49ers already are limited in cap space, and George Kittle has yet to sign a contract extension. Then there's the financial impact of the coronavirus, which could significantly lower the salary cap for next season and possibly beyond. Adding Adams to the fold likely would mean at least one noteworthy contributor on the team would soon be playing elsewhere. And, draft picks are particularly valuable for cap-strapped teams.

However ...

Adams won't turn 25 until October. Any team acquiring him could count on many more seasons of outstanding production. He also carries modest cap hits of $7.2 million and $9.9 million for the next two seasons, and reportedly would be willing to go to one of his preferred destinations without a pre-arranged extension. He's not much older than the prospects in next year's draft, and sorry, but he's better than all of them -- especially those at the end of the first round, where the 49ers are likely to be picking.

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'But the cap is going to go way down,' you say. In the immediate, that's correct, it's basically a certainty. But clearly, the Kansas City Chiefs expect the cap to rise significantly in the coming years. They just signed Patrick Mahomes -- who turns 25 in September -- to a gargantuan 10-year contract that could be worth up to $503 million. Sure, they could come to regret it, big time. But Mahomes is worth the risk.

As for Kittle, yes, he still needs to -- and will be -- paid. However, it seems likely he'll end up signing an extension for an annual salary well below the massive numbers that were being thrown around at the beginning of the offseason. It's not that he doesn't deserve it. It's just the way the NFL works.

Perhaps those factors explain why Sports Illustrated's Corbin Smith reported Thursday, citing multiple sources, that the 49ers have had preliminary discussions with the Jets about Adams' availability.

And, within Smith's report, he laid out yet another reason why San Francisco might be willing to do what it takes to get Adams: the Seattle Seahawks.

Just like the 49ers, the Seahawks -- who also were on Adams' shortlist -- reportedly recently engaged New York in preliminary discussions for the standout safety. Smith suggested that Seattle likely would have to part with its 2021 first-round draft pick, as well as additional draft assets and/or players to acquire him. That gives you an idea of what the 49ers would have to give up.

That's a steep price, to be sure. But I'd argue it'd be a lot more palatable than having him play not just in San Francisco's division, but for the 49ers' most bitter rival for many years to come.

[RELATED: Lott believes 49ers trading for Adams would be 'huge win']

The 49ers were at least one tier above the Seahawks last season, but let's not forget, they literally beat out Seattle for the NFC West title by a matter of inches.

Adams already is a game-changer. San Francisco cannot afford to let him become a division-changer. If that means paying a hefty price and taking on more risk, so be it. 

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.

49ers trading for Jamal Adams would be 'huge win,' Ronnie Lott says

49ers trading for Jamal Adams would be 'huge win,' Ronnie Lott says

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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