One of the favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas just got even more dangerous. The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a trade with the Washington Commanders to acquire pass rusher Chase Young, CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reports. To land Young, the Niners have shipped out a third-round pick, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson. Specifically, Sports Illustrated notes that it's a compensatory third-round selection heading back to Washington.
Young had been one of the more well-known names on the trade block leading up to Tuesday's trade deadline. Earlier in the day, the Commanders dealt away fellow defensive lineman Montez Sweat to the Bears, but that didn't preclude them from also looking to deal Young, as Anderson previously reported that they were still fielding offers for the former No. 2 overall pick. Well, San Francisco came calling and has now added a top-tier talent to pair opposite Nick Bosa, forming one of the most lethal pass-rushing duos in the league when healthy.
Young was a first-round pick in 2020 and burst onto the scene, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year that season. Injuries -- particularly a torn ACL during the 2021 season -- have plagued him in recent years but he has played well for the Commanders to this point, piling up five sacks and nine quarterback hits through seven games.
Washington declined to pick up Young's fifth-year option before this season, so the 24-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. While his arrival will certainly help San Francisco push for its first Super Bowl title since the 1994 season, it'll also be fascinating to see if Young is a rental piece in that endeavor or someone they are looking to keep around for the long term. Per Over the Cap, the 49ers are currently projected to have the seventh-fewest amount of cap space this offseason.
According to SportsLine data analyst Stephen Oh, the 49ers' chances to win the division jumped up 6.9% while their chances to win the NFC went up 4.5% and their odds to win the Super Bowl boosted 3%. As for the Commanders, Young's departure had a negligible impact with their win percentage dropping 2.4%.
Despite a three-game losing streak going into the bye, San Francisco is in the thick of the Super Bowl conversation and this is exactly the type of move that John Lynch should be pushing for to put his team over the top. When healthy, Young has flashed the ability to be a legit game-wrecker and should be able to attack the quarterback with ease in the Bay Area with Nick Bosa on the other side of the defensive line.
As it relates to the compensation, it was a no-brainer for the Niners. It's a compensatory pick they are reportedly giving up, which means it'll come at the bottom of the third round. The franchise is set to receive a compensatory third-round pick in 2024 for the Titans hiring Ran Carthon to be their GM and could gain another in 2025 if Young leaves in free agency. So, you can either look at this deal as a reward for developing Carthon or effectively just kick the compensatory pick down the road for a year while pushing for a championship.
And if the 49ers decide to sign Young, they have a former No. 2 overall pick who hasn't even sniffed his prime yet.
Young's injury history coupled with his looming free agent status probably hurt the Commanders in trying to get the most amount of capital for him, but this does seem a bit light. Really, they just moved the compensatory pick in 2025 they would have received for letting him walk in free agency this coming offseason a year earlier with this trade. Washington seems to be entering a full rebuild, so gaining assets is the objective and they got one with this trade of Young to San Francisco. That said, Young is still only 24 years old and the team did have the ability to place the franchise tag on him this offseason. At this price, I may have just hung onto him to see if he can be a building block going forward under the tag in 2024 and simply recoup the compensatory pick later if he proves not to be.