Last season, the race between the Seahawks and 49ers for an NFC West division title was decided by mere inches. Now, another battle may be brewing between the bitter rivals only weeks before training camp.
Per multiple sources, Seattle and San Francisco have both had preliminary discussions with the New York Jets about the availability of disgruntled star safety Jamal Adams, who reportedly has demanded a trade. The former first-round pick hasn't been pleased with stalled negotiations for a contract extension.
Earlier on Thursday, ESPN 710 host Jake Heaps reported the Seahawks had expressed interest in making a play for Adams.
Both the Seahawks and 49ers were on a short list of desired destinations for Adams in a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter last month. The Cowboys, Ravens, and Chiefs were also among his seven preferred teams, with reports surfacing he would be willing to go to any of those places without an immediate extension.
Heading into the 2020 season, Seattle has a quality starting safety tandem in Quandre Diggs and Bradley McDougald. Second-year defender Marquise Blair is also waiting in the wings for a starting opportunity and can play both safety spots.
Still, the Seahawks' apparent interest in Adams shouldn't be surprising, as he's a blue-chip talent who earned First-Team All-Pro honors last season and won't turn 25 until October. Entering his prime, he's capable of playing either safety spot at an elite level and offers a wide array of skills at 6-foot-1, 213 pounds.
Since entering the league as the No. 6 overall pick in 2017, Adams has produced 273 tackles, two interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, and 25 passes defensed, earning Pro Bowl nods each of the past two seasons. He's also been a weapon as a blitzer, amassing 6.5 sacks last season and 12 sacks so far in three NFL seasons.
New York picked up Adams' fifth-year option back in May, which means he still has two years remaining under contract. He carries cap hits of $7.2 million and $9.9 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
In regards to a new deal, Adams will be aiming to reset the market, likely pushing for $15 million per season at minimum. Currently, Eddie Jackson of the Bears and Kevin Byard of the Titans rank as the highest-paid safeties in the NFL, making $14.6 and $14.1 million per year annually.
To facilitate a deal, the Seahawks will likely have to deal their 2021 first-round pick and additional draft capital and/or players to acquire Adams. They would also need to create cap space if an extension is part of the deal, though veteran Bradley McDougald would become expendable and it could save the team $4 million to release him in a corresponding move.
As camp nears, no blockbuster trade appears to be imminent. But with the 49ers and Seahawks both competing for NFC West supremacy, both teams should be watched closely in coming weeks as Adams tries to force his way out of New York.