Two things can be -- and are -- true.
The 49ers rightfully shouldn't have sold the farm to acquire Jamal Adams.
Adams arguably is the best the safety in the NFL, and for a player that won't turn 25 until October, there is every reason to expect that he will continue to get better. And now, he'll do so for the 49ers' archrival and their greatest threat within the NFC West.
If a mad scientist were to create a prototype specifically designed to cover George Kittle, it would look a lot like Adams. He's great in coverage and tremendous in the box. He's fast. He hits hard. There really isn't much he doesn't do at a high level.
The 49ers made the mistake of passing on him in the 2017 NFL Draft, and now the Seahawks have made that error look even worse. While his talents have been out-of-sight and out-of-mind on the East Coast for the last three seasons, they'll now be front and center within the division. San Francisco has never faced Adams before. Now the 49ers will do so at least twice a season, and it's unlikely to be very fun.
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It's a great addition for the Seahawks, and hurts the 49ers on multiple levels. While San Francisco remains the favorite in the NFC West, the gap between the two teams just shrank considerably. And remember, the margin ended up being razor-thin last season.
One of the main reasons the 49ers were hamstrung in their ability to pursue a trade for Adams was their current salary obligations, and more specifically, the fact that Kittle still needs to be re-signed to a long-term deal. He was never going to get the huge numbers being thrown around at the beginning of the offseason, particularly given what is expected to be a significant drop in the salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic, but his negotiating leverage just went up.
The 49ers will ensure Kittle will be with the team for many seasons to come, but it'll likely cost them more now. They can't afford to not pay him, especially with the recent influx of defensive talent into the division. And every dollar counts in roster building.
San Francisco also would never have given up the draft picks for Adams that the Seahawks sent to the New York Jets -- first-round picks in 2021 and 2022, a third-rounder in 2021 along with safety Bradley McDougald -- as they need those cost-controlled picks for the same salary reasons. And yes, the 49ers saw firsthand how terribly the Los Angeles Rams' trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey worked out, as the Rams now are in draft-pick and salary-cap hell, and likely will find themselves in the NFC West basement for at least the next few years.
That deal looked a lot like the one the Seahawks struck for Adams, so it's understandable why pundits might criticize Seattle for similarly going all-in. However, there is one huge difference between the two trades.
Unlike the Rams, the Seahawks actually have a great quarterback who isn't massively overpaid. Russell Wilson is leaps and bounds better than Jared Goff. As long as he is behind center, Seattle has a chance.
And yes, the Seahawks inevitably will soon find themselves in a similar position to the Rams where they're without top draft picks and will undergo a roster crunch to fit under the cap. They'll lose some good players in the process, and won't be able to replace them with top -- and affordable -- prospects.
But that's at least one year down the line, if not further. In the meantime, the Seahawks are legitimate contenders within the NFC, and clearly have their eyes set on getting to Super Bowl LV.
The 49ers have the same mindset. Their contending window is right now, and should be open for the next few years barring significant injuries. But they're not focused on next season or the one after that. They want to win right now, and they're built that way.
The Seahawks now might be, too.
Even if the 49ers made the right decision by not trading for Adams, him joining Seattle is a terrible development for San Francisco, no matter how you look at it.
49ers experience disaster scenario with Seahawks' Jamal Adams trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area