Why the 49ers got Chase Young at the price they paid
At first, it was pretty discouraging when I heard the news that the 49ers acquired Chase Young. An already dominant defensive front featuring Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, and Arik Armstead, is now going to cause more headaches for opposing offensive lines. Although, the 49ers' defensive line hasn't been as quite productive as expected in 2023.
Primarily, because Nick Bosa missed all of training camp while holding out for a new contract. More so, the rest of the 49ers defensive front hasn't taken advantage of Bosa being doubled. That's where Chase Young comes into play.
Chase Young was the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, showing a lot of promise and delivering on the hype coming out of college. In the following two seasons, he's had only 1.5 sacks, in-part, because he's dealt with injuries, only playing in 12 games in 2021 and 2022. Now, he's shown signs of the dominance portrayed in his rookie campaign in 2023.
Predominantly, and this is the main reason why the 49ers were able to get him for just a third-round pick because he is in his contract year. The Commanders declined his 5th-year option, putting pressure on Young to put up the statistics in order to earn the payday of his desires. Certainly, he felt the pressure as Young has had an impressive 2023 season with 5 sacks and 10 pressures.
I say that to say, that while he might make an immediate impact on this San Francisco defense and help clean up some of the mess that's been put on tape over the three-game losing skid, I'm not sure how long he'll actually be in San Francisco. If he stays on pace with his current numbers, the only way he stays in San Francisco is by taking a pay cut. Which, seems highly unlikely as he is playing for his first big-money contract.
Granted, the 49ers currently have a quarterback under center who is on a rookie contract. So, now is the time to take advantage of that. But, they already are. Plenty of guys on this team have big contracts. So, what exactly is the game plan moving forward? His rushing mate, Nick Bosa is already the highest-paid defensive end in the NFL. The next four highest-paid pass-rushers have an average salary of $22.62 million. The franchise tag in 2023 for defensive ends was roughly $20 million.