Did the Lions miss out when they didn’t trade for Chase Young?…

It’s January and we’re a week ahead of the Detroit Lions heading to the playoffs. So you could imagine my surprise when I woke up Friday morning to see Lions fans still arguing over whether or not the Lions missed out on trading for edge rusher Chase Young at the trade deadline. I figured after all this time, we might have a solid answer to that question. So let’s talk about it. Was it a gaffe from Holmes? 

First off let me say this, I thought for months that this trade would happen. It made the most sense to me from a few different standpoints. The biggest one was that Young was going to be the cheapest pass rusher available at the trade deadline. By the way, there really wasn’t any available outside of Young and his then teammate Montez Sweat. Young was always going to be the cheaper option. In August I figured that it would take a third-round pick to get the deal done. That’s what the 49ers paid. 

The problem, that I even mentioned then, was that the team taking on Young would then have to make sure he got paid and paid big. Maybe not top end money, but probably top 15. Ok, now that we’re all caught up to speed, let’s answer the question. Was this a mistake? 

The answer at the deadline was no and it’s still no today. Young has played eight games for the 49ers and they haven’t been very good games. Every part of Young’s game has dipped since going to San Francisco.

.He went from six sacks in seven games to two in a half in eight games. 

 .He went from 38 pressures in seven games to 24 in eight games. 

.He went from 27 hurries to 17 hurries. 

 .His PFF grade went from 75.4 to 68.2 

 .His pass rush grade went from 79.7 to 66.2

Even his snap count has been cut in half. The 49ers aren’t playing him nearly as much as the Commanders were. He played 407 snaps in Washington and he’s only played 271 snaps in San Francisco. 

He’s not their starter there. So there’s a strong chance they move on from him after the season. 

I get the idea, the thought process to the response to this would be something to the effect of “he’s better than what’s there.” But is that enough? Do you want better than or greater than? There is a difference there. 

If this were the production that Young brought to Detroit and the Lions gave up a third round pick and then a massive contract to him afterwards, would you really look at this like it was a success? I think you’d maybe be missing that third round pick and the money. 

The other counter to this would be “hey, he’s just a few month rental and then you get a compensatory pick when you let him go.” You’re not just going to get a third round pick back. The value of compensatory picks stuff like this rarely pays off. Take the Von Miller trade for example. The Rams traded a second and third round pick for Miller and when they didn’t bring him back the next season, they got a fifth round compensatory pick. Young is no Miller. 

The juice just doesn’t seem worth the squeeze on this one. Maybe it would have for Montez Sweat, who’s been great in Chicago, but even then, Sweat is now the the eighth highest paid edge rusher in the NFL. The Lions are likely going to have to make Aidan Hutchinson the highest paid sooner rather than later. 

So the final answer is that the Lions made the right decision when they didn’t make a big trade for an edge rusher at the deadline. Truth be told, they could probably get Young cheaper in March when the 49ers don’t bring him back. 

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