Adams did get his trade out of the Big Apple, joining the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick, with safety Bradley McDougald going the other way.
However, reports from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN said the team was also “in” on a trade for Adams, alongside the Dallas Cowboys, but that the Seahawks secured the deal.
But when San Francisco general manager John Lynch recently talked with NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco, the 49ers’ GM said that the team never even contacted New York about a deal.
“Totally inaccurate,” Lynch said. “We did not ever make a call about the player.”
The 49ers have been mentioned in the same conversation as Adams for nearly the entire summer, ever since the former LSU Tiger dropped a list of teams he’d like to be traded to.
However, what Adams wants and what the 49ers were actually doing seems to be far different after Lynch’s latest comment.
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Finances and Contracts
On paper, the idea of trading for Adams didn’t make sense in two major ways: the 49ers’ current draft capital, as well as an already tight salary cap situation.
For one, San Francisco has just under $12 million in cap space this season and are still attempting to get tight end George Kittle a contract extension and also just solved the deal with running back Raheem Mostert, and having to pay Adams ahead of next season would be incredibly difficult to pull off.
For two, the 49ers don’t exactly have the most draft capital to offer. It’s tempting to trade away first-round picks when you’re in a win-now situation like San Francisco is, but a big reason for the team’s success in 2019 is smart money and drafting.
The perfect example is the team’s trading of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for this year’s first-round pick, which was invested in a similar player in Javon Kinlaw. Those types of maneuvers are how the 49ers have built the current team, and how they’ll be able to stay competitive year after year.
Adams and the Seahawks
One would expect Adams to slide into pretty much any NFL starting defense and do fairly well, but part of the situation with Adams and the Seahawks is that he’s expected to play as a weapon.
“Weapon” is kind of what Adams did in New York, taking snaps at cornerback and linebacker as well as safety as the Jets’ all-purpose defensive tool.
However, the 49ers’ don’t really need as much help at corner and linebacker. He could obviously be used at those positions, but if the 49ers are looking to upgrade a position, it’s at strong safety.
While Adams would be a significant upgrade over Jaquiski Tartt, one wonders if the 49ers would get the most value out of him by just playing him at safety. One way or another, we’ll see if Seattle’s new “weapon” is a smart way to utilize Adams or not.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.