49ers Prized Trade Acquisition Out After 2 New Signings

New 49ers signee Yetur Gross-Matos and Leonard Floyd will replace Chase Young.

Getty New 49ers signee Yetur Gross-Matos and Leonard Floyd will replace Chase Young.

It was fun while it lasted. The 49ers pulled off one of the biggest in-season moves of 2023 at last October’s trade deadline when they pried away edge rusher Chase Young from the Commanders for a compensatory third-round pick, reuniting him with his Ohio State teammate, 49ers star Nick Bosa. They played 12 games together, including two playoff games and the Super Bowl loss to Kansas City.

While the 49ers gave Young plenty of praise during his stint in San Francisco, the team apparently has no designs on re-signing him. On Monday, just ahead of the opening of free agency, two pending deals were reported in connection with the 49ers: the signing of Bills end Leonard Floyd and Panthers end Yetur Gross-Matos.

Gross-Matos’ deal is reported at two years and as much as $18 million, while Floyd’s contract is said to be two years and $20 million, with $12 million guaranteed in the first year, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The 49ers might have considered concentrating money into one defensive end, like Young, but instead opted for depth there with two players. Thus, Young is out. He has free-agent visits with the Saints, Panthers and Titans, according to NFL Network.

49ers had High Hopes for Chase Young

Throughout the season, the 49ers gave Young considerable props.

Two weeks into adding him to the line, coach Kyle Shanahan said, “Adding Chase has been a huge one for our unit, and that helps everyone else. And then he individually is good enough to make the plays, too, which he’s gotten those ops, and he’s come through with them.”

Bosa also supported his reunited teammate.

“Just having him out there is really good energy,” Bosa told reporters. “He’s excited to go out there and play. He wants to get those important reps in the game. And we’re talking before plays, kind of talking about what we’re going to do, and when he causes pressure [or] I cause pressure, it seems like the other guy ends up cleaning it up.”

In his time with the 49ers, though, Young was not exceptional. He recorded 3.5 sacks in his 12 games in San Francisco, after recording 5.0 in his seven games in Washington. Young had been a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2020 before injuries limited him to 12 games in 2021 and 22, and it appeared he was getting back to form this season before the 49ers trade.

He was not quite as good once he left Washington, though.

‘A Big Upgrade’ With Floyd, Gross-Matos

Floyd, for one, is expected to have an immediate impact for the 49ers. He has started 120 of 121 games in his NFL career, and though he is 31, he can still be effective. Gross-Matos is only 26 and still has upside.

Former NFL player and current NFL analyst Brian Baldinger gave the moves a pretty clear thumbs-up. He spoke on San Francisco’s 95.7 The Game about the 49ers’ edge-rushing overhaul.

“It’s a big upgrade over [DE] Clelin Ferrell and [DE] Chase Young,” Baldinger said, per 49ers Webzone. “You know, it’s been a while since they’ve had a guy that could win one-on-ones and keep the quarterback kind of hurried and affect the quarterback.

“Leonard, he’s a rangy guy. He’s won. He’s won in the postseason. He’s a guy that you’ve got to pay attention to. So I think it’s a big upgrade over what they put out there on the field a year ago.”

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