According to one report, the idea of the 49ers trading for Jets superstar safety Jamal Adams is ‘picking up steam.’
It wasn’t hard for San Francisco 49ers to think about the idea of a would-be trade for New York Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, particularly after he reportedly said he’d consider the Niners as a preferred trade destination after continued failed contract extensions with the team that selected him in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
While it seemed like a pipe dream, another report from Wednesday suggested the reality of a trade could be closer than initially thought.
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn, citing a source, suggested an Adams-to-San Francisco trade had a little more momentum to it than just the idea of it happening.
"I just got a direct message from a well-placed source saying Jamal Adams to the 49ers is “picking up steam.”This doesn’t mean Adams is coming to the 49ers, but it certainly has more reality than it did a few days ago. And it would be a big deal."
The NFL rumors mill is always entertaining, and the thought of Adams wanting to switch teams to join San Francisco amid its Super Bowl window.
Cohn also pointed out the immediate financial ramifications, too, citing the former first-round pick’s contractual obligations entering 2020:
"Adams is great, available, young and not particularly expensive. The 49ers would have to pay him $7.1 million in 2020, and $9.8 million in 2021 before extending his contract in 2022 when the salary cap could be $50 million dollars higher than it is now."
San Francisco could end up losing its current starting strong safety, Jaquiski Tartt, to free agency in 2021. So there’s a long-term need there, and there’s little questioning Adams would be an upgrade.
So, what would prevent the Niners from pulling the trigger?
Why 49ers wouldn’t trade for Jamal Adams.
San Francisco is projected to have just under $50 million in cap space for 2021, and the current COVID-19 pandemic could ultimately cut into the league’s ability to increase the cap in the coming seasons.
Adams would be entering year four of his contract, then the fifth-year option is available. But the Niners have to consider extensions for current star players like linebacker Fred Warner and All-Pro tight end George Kittle. Not too far down the line, EDGE Nick Bosa could end up being the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
All those reasons could hinder the 49ers’ ability to pay a player like Adams, even if players are traded back off to the Jets to clear some cap space.
That said, the other part of the equation would be San Francisco needing to land some of those cheaper rookie contracts rather than trading away draft picks. In the case of Adams, a first-round pick would be the bare-bones bottom, and the Niners being projected as a playoff team means that first rounder wouldn’t have as much value as many other teams potentially not in the mix.
The 49ers do have six picks in the 2020 draft, currently, but it doesn’t seem overly likely they’d dish out a considerable amount to bring aboard Adams.
There’s a chance Adams derails his trade value by threatening to sit out this season. But nothing of the sort has been reported, so one should expect New York to ask for as much as it can get.
And at least according to Cohn, the 49ers are considering what that could be.