The San Francisco 49ers made a big move right at the NFL trade deadline, opting to fortify the team's pass rush headed into the second half of the season. General manager John Lynch and company brokered a deal with the Washington Commanders for defensive lineman Chase Young in exchange for a compensatory third round 2024 draft pick.
The former second-overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft and AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year will be reunited with fellow Ohio State Buckeye Nick Bosa on San Francisco's defensive line. The two pass rushers played together for the 2017 and the first portion of 2018 season. Young comes to The Bay after spending the better part of four seasons with Washington and was scheduled to enter free agency at the end of 2023.
To start the season, Young has amassed 5.0 sacks, 15 total tackles (six tackles-for-loss), nine quarterback hits and a pass breakup in seven games. Despite playing through most of the first half of 2023, Young's early career has been filled with adversity due to injury. The pass rusher suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee in Week 11 of the 2021 campaign that kept him off the field until Week 15 of the following season.
The Commanders managed just one playoff appearance during Young's tenure in Washington D.C., sneaking into a Wild Card spot during the 2020 season. Former Washington, 49ers and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith described Young as a quick leader upon entering the league, an attribute Young credits to his upbringing.
"It's crazy unusual for a rookie to have the type of leadership that Chase has. Genuine leadership," quarterback Alex Smith said in a Washington Post interview with Sam Fortier. "I think a lot of young guys, especially high [draft] picks, I think you feel pressure to do it some way or somehow. I think Chase is so comfortable in his own skin and being who he is. I think guys respect that, but it's rare to have a guy that young step in and really affect his teammates as positively as he has."
Young was the second player dealt away by Washington at the NFL trade deadline. The team also sent defensive end Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a second round draft selection.
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