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Comparing Floyd to who the 49ers had a season ago

For the third consecutive offseason, the San Francisco 49ers made its first splash in free agency on the defensive side of the ball.

According to Ian Rapoport, Leonard Floyd followed Charvarius Ward and Javon Hargrave, agreeing with the 49ers on the first day of the negotiation period to a reported two-year, $20 million deal.

San Francisco also agreed to a two-year deal with pass-rusher Yetur Gross-Matos on Monday night. The pair of moves likely take the 49ers out of the Danielle Hunter sweepstakes and could quickly end the Chase Young era, paving the way for Floyd to be the primary pass-rusher across Nick Bosa.

Floyd is an easy upgrade over the options in 2023, with the 49ers taking and missing a pair of swings mid-season. After signing Hargrave to give the defensive line a pass rusher in the middle, the 49ers signed Clelin Ferrell as a run-stopper on the edge. It didn’t take long to realize the 49ers would need a pass rusher on the edge, bringing in Randy Gregory and Young during the season.

On 95.7 The Game, Brian Baldinger said this about Floyd: “It’s a big upgrade over Clelin Ferrell and Chase Young, and it’s been a while since they had a guy who could win one-on-one and keep the quarterback hurried.”

The trio of Ferrell, Gregory, and Young would contribute 8.5 sacks to the 49ers in 2023. Floyd hasn’t finished a season with fewer than 8.5 sacks since 2019.

The 49ers haven’t seen an edge rusher not named Nick Bosa record more than nine sacks in a season since Aldon Smith in 2011. Floyd has accomplished the feat in the last four seasons, making him, Myles Garrett, and Hasson Reddick the only three players with at least nine sacks in each of the previous four years. That’s the production the 49ers were hoping to get the last time it made a big splash on the edge when it traded for Dee Ford in 2019.

But since then, it’s been a rotating cast of characters with varying levels of success. And while Floyd will ideally give that production level the next two seasons, he’s entering his age 32 season. It feels likely the 49ers will need to address the spot again in a couple of years when the contract is up. And not that it’s a bad thing the 49ers will have to, but with options like Brian Burns and Hunter available, there could have been a long-term solution to a positional revolving door.

However, who knows what moves the 49ers would have had to make to open the cap space for a Burns or Hunter, which is what likely landed John Lynch and company on Floyd. The 49ers will get the best of both worlds in Floyd: high production and a good price. And with the 49ers in a Super Bowl window like it is, that’s a best-case scenario in any potential signing.

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