By Dianna Russini, Matt Barrows and David Lombardi
The Washington Commanders traded defensive end Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2024 third-round draft pick, league sources said. Here’s what you need to know:
- Young is in the final year of a four-year, $34.5 million fully guaranteed contract. The Commanders opted not to pick up Young’s fifth-year option this offseason.
- Young has five sacks and 15 tackles through seven games this season. The Commanders traded fellow defensive end Montez Sweat to the Bears on Tuesday in exchange for Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick.
- The Commanders are 3-5, third in the NFC East. The 49ers at 5-3 trail only the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
The No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, Young won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after posting 44 tackles with 12.5 sacks but has struggled to replicate those statistics since. His dip in production is partially based on injuries as he missed the end of the 2021 season and most of the 2022 season with a torn ACL.
Niners’ no-brainer addition
Defensive end? Cornerback? Guard? There should never have been any question about which position the 49ers were truly after at the trade deadline. They have not been shy about pouring resources into their defensive line over the years. Their philosophy is that an excellent line makes all the other levels of the defense look better. There also was a gaping hole at the defensive end spot opposite Nick Bosa. After Week 1, the team has received 1.5 sacks from defensive ends not named Bosa — a Week 6 sack from Randy Gregory and a Week 8 half sack from Clelin Ferrell. — Matt Barrows, 49ers senior writer
How will DE shape out?
The odd-man out in the 49ers’ defensive end rotation may be Drake Jackson, a second-round pick last year. Jackson leaped out of the starter’s blocks this season with a three-sack game in Week 1. Since then, however, he has no sacks and hasn’t even recorded a quarterback hit. His snap count has been dwindling as well as he played a season-low 16 percent of the defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers turned to Ferrell as Bosa’s bookend in that game and Ferrell responded with his best outing of the season, one that included a half sack and a forced fumble. Bosa, Young, Ferrell and Gregory likely will be San Francisco’s defensive line rotation moving forward. — Barrows
All Ohio State, all the time
The 49ers have needed a bookend to Bosa who could also defend the run on an every-down basis, and Young certainly provides that. It’ll be a dual-Ohio State tandem on the edges for the 49ers. As far as price goes, this can end up being a very inexpensive rental for the 49ers if they don’t end up re-signing Young. He’s due only about $561,000 more against the salary cap this season, and the 49ers can realistically recoup much of the cost of the third-round pick with a compensatory draft pick if Young signs elsewhere.
With five sacks already this season, Young has shown definite signs of rounding back into the form he showed prior to tearing his ACL in 2021. Above all else, the 49ers needed to address the edge-setting liability that had contributed to their No. 26 start in run defense, and this move should go a long way toward doing that. — David Lombardi, 49ers staff writer
(Photo: Nick Cammett / Diamond Images via Getty Images)