SF 49ers: Grading John Lynch’s moves at 2020 NFL trade deadline

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jordan Willis, NY Jets, Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs the ball as New York Jets defensive end Jordan Willis (60) Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

SF 49ers get pass-rushing help with Jordan Willis

The SF 49ers weren’t anticipating not having edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford on the field this season. But with Bosa going down with a torn ACL and being out for the year, as well as Ford being shelved indefinitely with a back injury, the team’s pass rush went from potent to almost nonexistent.

And with depth pass-rushers like Ronald Blair and Jullian Taylor still recovering from 2019 ACL injuries, there was increased pressure on those like EDGE Kerry Hyder to shoulder the load.

Hyder is having a fantastic season, leading the SF 49ers with 4.5 sacks through eight weeks. Yet the need to get some help here was evident, prompting John Lynch to trade with the NY Jets for seldom-used EDGE Jordan Willis.

Willis, New York’s Round 3 pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, never quite panned out to desired expectations and has just three sacks over his career. Yet he was a promising NFL Draft prospect when coming out, and the Niners will have the rest of 2020 to see if he has anything to offer before he hits free agency next season.

And he’ll cost just over $500,000 to San Francisco during that span.

For a mere day-three pick swap between 2021 and 2022, that’s an easy price to navigate. If Willis works out to be a supplementary pass-rusher, it could afford Lynch the option to move on from more-expensive players like Blair next season.

Not a flashy move, but a decent low-risk one nonetheless.

Grade: B-