Sometimes, when a player like New York Jets safety Jamal Adams is available, the promise and quality is so tempting, fans and teams just ask, “Can I?” rather than “Should I?”
From the perspective of the San Francisco 49ers, who were recently listed as one of the spots that Adams would be happy to land in should the Jets find a deal that meets their value.
After ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted out a list of franchises that the current Jet wouldn’t mind ending up at, speculation over Adams’ situation has returned, as the NFL attempts to figure out where one of New York’s most valuable assets will end up.
However, as Schefter reported, the Jets aren’t interested in a trade, which likely means that Adams will cost an arm and a leg no matter how much he asks for a change of scenery.
From Adams’ Perspective
Throughout the past year or so, Adams and the Jets’ relationship has been rocky. The former LSU Tiger has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the franchise as well as the fact that he feels like he’s earned a new contract after success since being drafted sixth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Adams’ two career interceptions are brought up as a detractor often, but interceptions don’t tell the tale of the tape. When Adams is comfortable, like in 2018, he can do insane things from the strong safety position, including 12 passes defended, a pick and a whopping 115 combined tackles.
So, understandably, Adams, who was selected to first-team All-Pro in 2019, wants to get paid sooner rather than later, which is why he took to Instagram for a recent rant after someone mentioned Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Ohhh I see what it is. I deserve to be paid but when I ask to be taking care of I’m, “BEING THAT GUY,” huh? What does [Patrick Mahomes] have to do with me? Pat is about to get 40 to 60 [million] a year. Well deserved. That’s my guy.
But don’t compare me to QB’s if you aren’t paying me QB money.”
From the 49ers’ Perspective
While the 49ers may have players or even front office members who are sympathetic to Adams’ case, it’s also an extremely tricky situation for the 49ers financially.
With just over $15 million in 2020 cap space and rising contracts costs in the ensuing years, the 49ers are in a tight spot in terms of Adams. The cap hit would be very low in 2020, but San Francisco would have to be ready to pay Adams the highest salary for a safety in the NFL.
While San Francisco safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward may not be national household names, they’ve proven their ability to this point. Great safety play is important, but it’s similar to the running back position in terms of its value has depreciated compared to other positions.
With tight end George Kittle needing a new contract and other 49ers players also likely to look for new contracts in 2020, it’s already a tight enough spot.
This isn’t even mentioning what it would cost to trade for Adams, who will most certainly cost a first or second-round pick with a ton of sweeteners on the side. At 24, and with another option year in front of him, the Jets know that getting draft capital for Adams is imperative.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.