The San Francisco 49ers made one last move before time expired on Tuesday's NFL trade deadline. San Francisco's talent-packed defensive line has another powerhouse pass rusher joining the crew with Chase Young headed to The Bay.
General manager John Lynch brokered a deal with Washington Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew to acquire the fourth-year defensive lineman in exchange for a compensatory third round 2024 draft pick. Young is on the final year of his rookie deal with the Commanders opting not to pick up the former 2020 first round draft pick's fifth-year option.
Here are three takeaways from Lynch's press conference on Wednesday morning:
The Young deal wasn't finalized until hours before the deadline, but contact regarding the deal goes back to at least a couple weeks ago.
"Martin and I touched base quite a while ago, maybe two weeks ago," Lynch said. "I was gauging the likelihood that (Young) would be available. Martin thought that there was a good chance that would be in play.
"We've been tracking Chase for some time, and Martin did a really good job... Martin kept us in the loop because we were looking at a variety of things."
The general manager noted the trade was agreed upon roughly between between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning with the trade deadline set league-wide for 1:00 p.m. PT. Lynch went on to mention that he didn't sleep well the night prior because he wasn't entirely sure the deal would end up materializing. With so many teams shopping across the league, conversations involving potential trades can go down to the wire, but in the end, it all worked out for the 49ers who will have Young in the building through the end of the 2023 season.
"Ultimately, we felt like this would give us a boost," Lynch said. "We really liked Chase's film. We liked where he was seemingly from a health standpoint... So, that's kind of how it went down."
Lynch explained the 49ers decision to bolster the defensive line further in the team's single trade deadline move.
"I felt like it was the best deal to be had," Lynch said. "We had a number of conversations, and we've always been of the philosophy that it starts up front. That was the deal that made the most sense for us."
Young is one of a string of moves made to fortify the 49ers defensive front in 2023. The additions started in free agency with the addition of Javon Hargrave and Clelin Ferrell, continued into the season with the trade for Randy Gregory in early October and concluded with this most recent exchange for Young. Lynch mentioned San Francisco was involved in other potential trade conversations but ultimately only agreed to terms with the Commanders. Factors such as value, talent already in the building and best available options all factored into the decision.
"You obviously have some areas where you're like, 'Hey, if we could get something here, I think we could improve our team and our chances.' That's all you're trying to do this time of the year without handicapping us. It really is."
Compensatory picks the 49ers are expected to receive with DeMeco Ryans and Ran Carthon departing for head coach and general manager positions in the offseason, respectively, give the team some draft capital to work with.
"I think we'll still have a third (round draft pick)," Lynch said. "We're expecting that we still have another (compensatory third round draft pick) and those things are valuable, but if you can add a player who can help you, I think it's boosted our team before. Emmanuel Sanders did it. Charles Omenihu made a lot of contributions. Christian McCaffrey, obviously."
While there is an injury history with Young, the 49ers are confident in where he stands health wise and expect him to be a significant contributor to this 2023 team.
Young suffered an ACL tear to his right knee that kept him out for the tail end of the 2021 season and a large portion of the 2022 season. The fourth-year pro has played in seven of the Commanders first eight games of the year and has racked up 5.0 sacks, 15 total tackles (six tackles-for-loss), nine quarterback hits and a pass breakup.
"I think the proof is in what's translating on the field, and he's been playing a lot looking, you know, really good," Lynch said. "It sure looks like he's been healthy based upon what he's been doing on the field."
Lynch later described Young as a "complete player" that will be expected to help not just with the pass rush but also the 49ers run defense.