The 49ers added Chase Young to their defensive front Tuesday, just before the NFL trade deadline, and general manager John Lynch believes it was the best move the team could make to help address its stalling pass rush.
“I’m glad we did Chase for the right reasons, not just because we felt like we had to do something,” Lynch said via conference call Wednesday morning. “I believe wholeheartedly that all the answers are right here in the building.
“We didn’t have to go do this, we just saw an opportunity, and we felt like we could stay true to who we want to be, in terms of building through the draft, with also adding a player who we felt could help us the rest of this year.”
The 49ers have built their team from the trenches outward by selecting three defensive linemen in the first round and one in the second over the past seven NFL drafts (Solomon Thomas in 2017, Nick Bosa in 2019, Javon Kinlaw in 2021, Drake Jackson in second in 2022). But through eight games, the group that previously led the NFL in quarterback takedowns has registered just 15 sacks, tying them for 19th in the league. Three of those sacks have been made by linebackers Fred Warner (two) and Dre Greenlaw (one), not members of the D-line.
Lynch believes the 49ers have the players to get the job done, but he also knew that acquiring Young, a former No. 2 overall pick who has 14 sacks in 34 NFL games, in a trade with the Washington Commanders was an opportunity they couldn’t ignore.
“We didn’t necessarily feel like we needed to go do something,” Lynch said. “We weren’t going to be reactionary on our recent streak. We felt all along that if the right thing transpired, then ultimately we thought that this was something that would really help us.”
Still, the numbers don’t lie. The 49ers have lost three consecutive games while allowing 400 or more yards of offense in the past two contests and 300 or more yards in three additional games. If the team wants to keep its playoff dreams alive, it needs to stop the bleeding.
“We’ve put a lot of resources there,” Lynch said. “Those guys need to be not just good, they need to be really good and dominate, and I feel like it’s on its way. We need to do that, and that takes everybody.”
The 49ers previously added defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in free agency during the offseason and pass rusher Randy Gregory in a trade at the beginning of October, but the group still hasn’t affected games enough to tip the scales.
Lynch remains steadfast that the 49ers already have the personnel in the building to return to their winning ways after a three-game losing streak, but significant self-evaluation is needed throughout the building during the team’s bye week.
“I felt like it was the best deal to be had,” Lynch said. “We had a number of conversations and we’ve always been of the philosophy that it starts up front, and that was the deal that made the most sense for us.”
Christine Lake is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. With an extensive background in sports journalism, he covers everything from major league championships to grassroots sports events. When she’s not on the field or at the stadium, you’ll find Christine coaching youth sports teams.