NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

General manager John Lynch broke down the process in acquiring the talented defensive end.

The San Francisco 49ers remained busy at the bye week, arguably making the top move of the day in acquiring defensive end Chase Young from the Washington Commanders for a 2024 third-round pick, which will be the compensatory pick that the former receives for the hires of DeMeco Ryans and Ran Carthon this past cycle.

While the 49ers said they felt confident with their talent ahead of the bye week, and head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t believe there were many trades to be had ahead of the deadline, the 49ers ultimately got a deal done, and a big one at that.

How did discussions for Young unravel?

It all started with conversations around two weeks ago between 49ers general manager John Lynch and Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew, who, coincidentally, was with San Francisco as a top executive before moving to Washington.

Lynch was gauging the availability of Young, who ultimately did come available, but really only during the day on Tuesday, when talks eventually sprung into action.

“So, [Washington Commanders general manager] Martin [Mayhew] and I had touched base quite a while ago, maybe two weeks ago,” Lynch said on Wednesday. “And just the likelihood, I was gauging the likelihood that he would be available and Martin thought that there was a good chance it would be in play. We’d been tracking [DL] Chase [Young] for some time. Martin did a really good job. I’m very appreciative. He and I are great friends. I mean, he was a mentor of mine when I arrived in Tampa. We played in the same secondary, so we go way back, one of the first calls when I got here to see if he would come join me. I think relationships matter in these things, and I’m very appreciative, he kept us in the loop, you know, because we were looking at a variety of things.”

At first, Lynch was wary, given the increased compensation around deadline deals, while also considering that Young was on an expiring deal himself, unlike Christian McCaffrey, who had three years on his contract when the 49ers moved for him last deadline.

“And [Mayhew] just kind of kept coming back saying, ‘Here’s where it’s at.’ And ultimately, when did this, in terms of timeline, when did it break? About 11:30? Yeah, so it was fairly late in the game. I mean, this wasn’t something I went to bed Monday night knowing that we were going to do this deal,” Lynch said.

“We were talking about a few and it, I don’t know, I had this feeling going to bed and I didn’t sleep very well and waking up that nothing was going to come to fruition just because it, I don’t know, the more people do these it seems like the comp is getting higher and higher. And you know, we probably got spoiled a little bit last year in getting [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], but not only such a great player but getting a player who you had for years to come. And so, that’s a little more attractive than somebody who’s on an expiring deal.”

But, the 49ers ultimately felt that the value of landing Young for the price requested was good enough, pulling the trigger on the trade.

“But ultimately we felt like this would give us a boost. We really like Chase’s film. We liked where he was, you know, seemingly from a health standpoint,” Lynch said. “Obviously, as with any player, all these deals which are agreed in principle are contingent upon passing a physical so he’s got to clear that hurdle today, but he’s been playing. So, that’s kind of how it went down.”

Young wasn’t the only marquee pass-rusher that the Commanders moved at the deadline; Washington also flipped Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears for a 2024 second-round pick.

Did the 49ers have conversations about both Young and Sweat with the 49ers? Initially, it was just about the former, but the latter did come into the mix later in the conversations between Mayhew and Lynch.

“Early on in the game, it’s not in the game, in mine and Martin’s conversations, it was just Chase,” Lynch said. “At some point, Martin said, ‘Hey, listen for the right price, Sweat could likely be had as well.’ And so, that’s kind of where it was.”

Given the depth on the defensive line, why did the 49ers ultimately deal for another pass rusher at the deadline?

Lynch acknowledged that the value was too good to pass up, which makes sense, given that the 49ers could recoup a potential extra third-round compensatory pick in 2025, should Young walk in free agency after this season.

“Because I felt like it was the best deal to be had. We had a number of conversations and we’ve always been of the philosophy that it starts up front and that was the deal that made the most sense for us,” Lynch said.

However, the 49ers did the trade more so for the opportunity rather than the need, as Lynch confirmed the front office’s belief in the current roster, inferring that the current issues can be solved in-house.

“We’ve had a nice track record, but it’s tough because it’s become an expectation that we’re going to do something and everyone’s kind of looking at you close to the trade deadline when you haven’t done something yet and you’re saying, hold on, ‘Randy Gregory, we did that’ and I’m glad we did Chase for the right reasons, not because we just felt like, ‘hey, we’ve got to do something,’” Lynch said.

“I believe wholeheartedly that all the answers are right here in the building. We didn’t have to go do this. We just saw an opportunity and we felt like we could stay true to who we want to be in terms of building through the draft, with also adding a player who we felt could help us the rest of this year.”

The Niners arguably pulled away with the best value of the trade deadline with Chase Young for a third-round compensatory pick, and the move seems like a no-brainer when considering the possibility of adding another one down the line in 2025.

Add that to the fact that San Francisco will already have two third round picks, with one coming via the compensatory formula for the loss of right tackle Mike McGlinchey, and the 49ers are still looking in good shape, capital-wise, for the 2024 NFL Draft.

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