The 49ers went big game hunting at the NFL trade deadline, checking in on the availability of Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II, Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson and then-Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat, among others, sources told ESPN.
The cost of all three players ultimately turned out to be too high for the 49ers, who thought that wouldn’t be able to make a deal to improve their team with just hours remaining before the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Oct. 31.
The Commanders, however, lowered their asking price for defensive end Chase Young after some teams expressed medical concerns about him, according to sources.
Washington initially was seeking second- and fifth-round draft picks in return for Young, according to sources. But when teams expressed concerns about Young’s medicals, the Commanders dropped the price to the 49ers, who wound up sending a compensatory third-round pick to Washington for the former Ohio State star.
The 49ers were quite pleased with what they saw from Young in practice last week and plan to play him “a lot” Sunday in his Niners debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He has been rocking,” a Niners team official told ESPN.
The 49ers will reunite Young with former Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa; the two spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons together in Columbus. It marks the first time in NFL history that two former Defensive Rookies of the Year who played college football together will be teammates in the NFL.
San Francisco boasts as much defensive talent up front as any team in the league, with five defensive linemen — Young, Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw and Clelin Ferrell — who were first-round picks and two others — Drake Jackson and Randy Gregory — who were second-round picks. The Niners also have defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who signed a four-year, $84 million last offseason.
But despite their depth on the defensive line, the price to land Young was one the 49ers could not ignore. Rather than trading away multiple picks, the Niners simply had to trade the compensatory third-round pick that they received for losing Ran Carthon to the Titans and DeMeco Ryans to the Texans.
In return, San Francisco landed the No. 2 overall pick from the 2020 draft who is having the best year of his career after missing 22 games the past two seasons. Young recorded five sacks in seven games this season with Washington.
Young, 24, is on an expiring contract, will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and should he leave San Francisco for a lucrative deal elsewhere, the 49ers would be eligible to get back another compensatory draft pick in return.