As the 4 p.m. ET deadline draws near, trades are starting to come in hot and heavy. The Washington Commanders already dealt Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears today, and now they sent Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers. Let’s run through the details of the latter deal and grade the trade for both teams.
Grading the Chase Young Trade From Commanders to 49ers
The Commanders’ new ownership group is not playing around. The coaching staff almost certainly wanted to keep both Sweat and Young around for the long haul, but the Commanders need to think about their future. Unfortunately, that future does not include either pass rusher, and it almost certainly does not include Ron Rivera.
A Low-Risk, High-Reward Investment
The 49ers have a defensive philosophy, and they stick to it. In the offseason, they added veteran Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Javon Hargrave to their defensive interior. But in the process, Samson Ebukam left for Indianapolis.
Drake Jackson and Clelin Ferrell were the replacement plan on the front line alongside Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. Even having three of the four positions manned by outstanding players should, theoretically, be enough. But it hasn’t been.
Adding Chase Young, especially for a conditional third-round compensatory pick, is a low-risk, high-reward move to complete the 49ers’ defensive philosophy.
Protections will still flow to Bosa’s side. That leaves more opportunities for Young in 1-on-1 situations. He’s already having a career year. Through seven games, he has posted 38 pressures. Offenses will consistently be forced to get the ball out in 2.5 seconds or less, which will limit their explosive potential.
As the offense struggles, they need their defense to be great. And with Young’s injury history and lackluster production, a long-term deal is well within reach.
Commanders Load Up On Draft Capital
According to Tankathon, the Commanders have the fourth-most draft capital in the NFL heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. They currently have five picks inside of the top 108 selections. Washington’s cap situation is also good heading into 2024, so it could be a player in free agency along with its draft reinforcements.
Even with Young and Sweat, this Commanders’ defense was bad. They ranked 22nd in EPA, even though they were 12th in success rate. They’re 26th in dropback success rate, and their secondary continuously suffers from communication issues on the back end that lead to explosive plays.
MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart | Washington Commanders Depth Chart
In the end, this team was never going to compete in the NFC East or as a wild-card playoff team. Although a compensatory third-round pick is less than ideal just a few years after being the second-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s better than nothing.
If Washington is to compete with the Dallas Cowboys and Eagles over the next few years, they need Sam Howell to progress at lightning speed, they need to hit on draft picks, and they need to hit in the free agent market. They must insulate their young QB, and they need him to play at an incredible level on his inexpensive deal.
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