Did the Commanders just put Chase Young on the trade block?

(Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) Chase Young
(Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) Chase Young /

Did the Washington Commanders just put Chase Young on the trade block by revealing their fifth-year option choice one day before the 2023 NFL Draft?

After months of speculation surrounding the Washington Commanders and their decision regarding Chase Young‘s fifth-year option, we finally have some clarity. And it’s not good news for the defensive end.

According to Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post, the Commanders will not be triggering the clause in Young’s rookie contract. A decision that means both the former Ohio State standout and Montez Sweat will be out of contract in 2024.

This makes it incredibly difficult to keep both around, especially considering the money already tied up in defensive tackle duo Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. And the timing of this news – one day before the 2023 NFL Draft gets underway – could mean the Commanders are open for business regarding a potential trade for one of the defensive ends.

Commanders might be receptive to trading Chase Young

The smart money would be on Young, who’s endured a rough ride over the last two seasons. Injuries and a lack of production have left a once-promising career hanging in the balance, but 1.5 sacks in 12 games tell their own story.

Perhaps this is just Ron Rivera‘s method. He did something similar with Payne last season, who went on to have a career season and got a four-year, $90 million deal with $60 million guaranteed as a result.

Maybe this call was to give Young extra motivation in a contract year. However, a situation could also emerge where the Commanders become receptive to trade calls to ensure they get something back in return.

This would be a complete bombshell given how Young is still perceived around the league. He came out of college with generational potential, but it’s been difficult for the player to meet such lofty expectations so far.

It would be shocking if the Commanders gave up on Young entirely after just three seasons. However, the market might be robust enough to get some decent draft capital in this scenario.

Young’s compensation would be a lot more than the Detroit Lions received for cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was taken one pick later in the 2020 NFL Draft at No. 3 and was shipped out to the Atlanta Falcons recently. But if Rivera opts to keep the pass-rusher around and he bounces back, his contract demands are going to go through the roof.

This is a complex situation that the Commanders must handle with extreme care. There doesn’t appear to be much starting-caliber depth behind Young in the event he is traded, although that could change depending on which college edge rushers are high on the team’s shortlist.

Efe Obada is a solid rotational piece and James Smith-Williams is also capable. But neither has Young’s upside if he could manage to stay on the field for a full 17-game season.

Much like most things from a fan perspective, it’s a case of wait-and-see. The Commanders have the draft to navigate – which will take priority above all else – but one cannot ignore the timing of this decision being made public and neither should other NFL teams looking for edge-rushing assistance.

Just another fascinating layer to a pivotal few days ahead for Rivera and the Commanders.

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