John Lynch

Lynch reveals Chase Young-to-49ers blockbuster trade timeline

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Upon being hired as 49ers general manager in 2017, John Lynch made a phone call to a longtime friend to see if he'd join him in the team’s front office.

Martin Mayhew, with whom Lynch played in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive backfield in the mid-1990s, accepted the offer to join the 49ers’ personnel department. Mayhew previously served as Detroit Lions GM.

Mayhew, now the Washington Commanders’ GM, and Lynch have remained close. And their familiarity with each other was a driving force in the 49ers’ ability to acquire defensive end Chase Young on Tuesday in a trade with the Commanders at the NFL trade deadline.

“I think relationships matter in these things,” Lynch said Wednesday morning on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Lynch said he reached out approximately two weeks ago to see if there was any possibility Young would be available in a trade. Earlier this year, the Commanders declined to pick up the fifth-year contract option on Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Young is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in March after completing his fourth NFL season.

At 3-5, the Commanders appeared to be in a mode to sell some assets to acquire 2024 draft picks and begin a rebuild under new ownership.

“I was gauging the likelihood that he [Young] would be available,” Lynch said. “And Martin thought there was a good chance it would be in play. We’d been tracking Chase for some time.

“He kept us in the loop because we were looking at a variety of things. And he kept coming back and saying this is where it’s at.”

Lynch said he wasn't entirely certain a deal could be made before Tuesday’s 1 p.m. PT deadline. He did not sleep well because of the possibility the 49ers wouldn't be able to swing the trade.

“This wasn’t something where I went to bed Monday night knowing we were going to do this deal,” Lynch said.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Commanders traded defensive end Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears for a second-round draft pick. The 49ers had been alerted that Sweat was available.

“Early on in my conversations with Martin, it was Chase,” Lynch said. “At some point, Martin said, for the right price, Sweat could be had as well. That’s kind of where it was.”

Finally, approximately 90 minutes before the deadline, the 49ers and Commanders wrapped up the talks and agreed to the Young trade.

The 49ers sent Washington a “special compensatory pick,” which is expected to be in the neighborhood of No. 100 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Young was scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area on Wednesday morning to undergo a physical. Then the deal will become official.

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