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Chargers are open to trading Joey Bosa, but can the 49ers afford two Bosas?

Marc Adams
Mar 9, 2024 at 12:38 PM

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Could the San Francisco 49ers end up with two Bosas on defense? According to Dianna Russini, Senior NFL Insider for The Athletic, "The Chargers are open to trade offers for many veteran players including Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, per sources. There are teams interested but many around the league are willing to wait to see if the Chargers cut them soon." That sounds like, at minimum, an open door.

Nick Bosa will be entering his sixth NFL season in 2024. In his NFL career, he's been named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (2019), AP Defensive Player of the Year (2022), is a four-time Pro Bowler and has also been named All-Pro. But the 49ers have struggled to find someone on the opposite side of Bosa who can consistently get after the quarterback.

Since the 49ers drafted Bosa in 2019, fans of the team have been hoping that someday his brother, Joey, might end up in San Francisco. And while it's unlikely, due to financial reasons, there is a chance now that the Los Angeles Chargers are open to trading their Bosa.

The Chargers drafted the older Bosa with the third-overall pick in 2016. He has had an outstanding career with the Chargers, but injuries have been a problem, at times. In 2023, Bosa played in only nine games but still had 6.5 sacks. So he's still productive when he plays. Unfortunately, he hasn't played much in the past two seasons. Before playing in only nine games last year, Bosa was only able to play five games in 2022. That's 13 games in two seasons. His younger brother played in more games than that in 2023 alone.

But the Chargers' Bosa, who was also named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (2016), has been a force when he's been healthy. He's a four-time Pro Bowler and has had double-digit sacks in four of his eight seasons. In his most recent season with double-digit sacks (2021), Bosa also forced seven fumbles. If he's healthy, he would be a nice compliment to his younger brother.

According to Russini, the Chargers are also open to trading another star pass rusher, Khalil Mack. And though Mack is about five years older than Bosa, he's been healthier. And he's been extremely productive.

Last season, Mack had 17 sacks and forced five fumbles. He also knocked down 10 passes. The 10-year star pass rusher is an eight-time Pro Bowler and has been named first-team All-Pro three times. In 2016, Mack was named AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Although Bosa is two years younger, Mack has been healthier (he's only missed 12 games in his career) and more productive. But can the 49ers find a way to afford either one? And what would they have to give up to obtain one of the Chargers' pass rushers?

Currently, Mack's 2024 cap hit is around $38.5 million. Bosa is about two million less than Mack at roughly $36.6 million. There's no way the 49ers can pay that much for another edge rusher. But if the Chargers take on some of that, perhaps it's doable.

Still, it would appear both players are outside of what the 49ers can pay. So the team will likely have to look elsewhere for that compliment to its star edge rusher. But there is that chance the Chargers could cut one or both players. If that happens, the dream may still be alive.

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