Jets star safety Jamal Adams wants out of New York, and the 49ers are a preferred destination, according to ESPN.
Not too long ago, few star players would want to join the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, that landscape has changed and then some.
Two-time Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams has reportedly requested a trade from the New York Jets, where he’s spent the last three seasons and has emerged as one of the best defensive players in the league. Adams hasn’t shied away from his frustrations over a would-be contract extension, and it appears as if both parties are at an impasse.
As such, Adams reportedly listed the Niners as a preferred destination, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday:
Remember those dark years when the 49ers almost had to beg players to join their ranks? Well, the Niners were able to lure away Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins after his yearlong 2019 holdout for a new contract.
Perhaps Adams is next, right?
There are a few problems associated with this move, though. Sure, Adams would be a massive upgrade over the Niners’ current starting strong safety, Jaquiski Tartt, who enters a contract year in 2020. And Adams is still playing on his rookie contract, and the cap hit would be $3.59 million if San Francisco was somehow to acquire him.
But the problems start to arise right afterwards. For starters, the Jets are likely to have more than a handful of suitors, and the cap-pressed 49ers are going to need to land some players in upcoming NFL Drafts to capitalize on cheaper rookie contracts.
More on that in a second, but it’s important to remember the Niners boast only their first- and second-round picks in 2020 of the first three rounds, having dished out their third rounder in the Williams trade.
On top of that, Spotrac.com’s market-value tool has Adams’ value at $14.7 million annually, which would be far over the budget San Francisco has allocated at the position.
At least without undergoing some massive changes on the roster.
49ers cap, free agency situation in 2021 creates problems
The Niners wouldn’t dish out what would likely be a first-round pick, and then some, for a one-year rental player. Re-signing Adams would be the only way that move makes sense, considering the team’s current cap restraints.
San Francisco has a projected $49,781,160 in salary cap space next year, according to Over the Cap. But this doesn’t account for the team’s 2020 rookie deals, which cut into the carryover number, as well as some serious free-agent questions the team will face between now and next season.
Among those current Niners players scheduled to hit free agency:
- George Kittle
- Trent Williams
- Richard Sherman
- K’Waun Williams
- Kyle Juszczyk
- Kendrick Bourne
- Ahkello Witherspoon
- Emmanuel Moseley
- D.J. Jones
- Trent Taylor
- Tevin Coleman
- Ronald Blair
Kittle’s pending contract extension, which has also been at an impasse, could be greatly hindered by Adams’ presence, particularly with his own extension on the table.
And given some of the other names on the list, it’s not hard to understand why Adams creates some financial concerns.
But the more long-term questions would be about the draft picks. San Francisco would be giving up a lot, yes, and those rookie deals are what will matter for the team’s fiscal plans in the coming seasons until the salary cap sees a dramatic increase.
Simply put, the 49ers need to land those rookie deals and have those players excel while playing on them, precisely how they benefited from Kittle’s presence the last three seasons on his rookie contract.
Either way, the thought of Adams in the red and gold is enticing, but don’t get your hopes up too much here.