An AFC North team was touted as a potential trade destination for Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young before the deadline.
When it comes to players under the most scrutiny heading into the 2023 season league-wide, Chase Young was right at the top. The defensive end was entering a make-or-break campaign after significant injury issues and the Washington Commanders declining his fifth-year option, which was a calculated risk by those in power considering fellow pass-rusher Montez Sweat is also looking for a new deal in 2024.
Young missed the first game against the Arizona Cardinals after suffering a severe stinger in the preseason. However, he's been healthy over the last five games and looks like the player we saw as a rookie in 2020.
The former No. 2 overall selection already boasts three sacks, seven quarterback hits, and 15 pressures. More importantly, Young is showing no ill effects on the health front despite featuring in 84 percent of Washington's defensive snaps to date.
Commanders DE Chase Young traded in PFF projection
This is a big step in the right direction for Young, which only heightens the predicament facing the Commanders next spring. Keeping both Sweat and the Ohio State product around will be difficult financially, so those in power might contemplate moving the player to guarantee something in return before the trade deadline.
Considering the Commanders still fancy themselves as a potential wild card team, this seems highly unlikely. However, Brad Spielberger from Pro Football Focus touted the Baltimore Ravens as a possible destination with compensation of two third-round picks attached.
"You can make a legitimate case that this trade is way too much and also too little. It’s arguably too much because there’s a very realistic scenario where Young becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season and is free to sign with any team for zero draft pick capital. It’s arguably too little because Washington could, in theory, extend fellow edge defender Montez Sweat before the franchise tag deadline and then place the tag on Young. Young and Sweat also share representation and every player benefits from reaching the open market, so there’s no real reason to entertain an extension on one player just to free up the franchise tag for the other player, unless the team is willing to pay an exorbitant price. Washington really backed themselves into a corner here. As always, a coaching staff/front office that may be fighting to keep their jobs can be averse to letting go of premium talent, but this move makes too much sense for the long-term of the franchise, and perhaps new owner Josh Harris puts his thumb on the scale."- Brad Spielberger, PFF
This time of year is always full of speculation with the October 31 trade deadline fast approaching. One would like to think it might take a bigger offer to part ways with Young, but it's also worth remembering that the Commanders have two pivotal divisional games before that date.
If Washington ends up losing both and finds itself at 3-5, the prospect of trading Young or another established star deemed expendable becomes more realistic. Ron Rivera isn't going to be throwing in the towel until it's mathematically impossible for the Commanders to make the postseason, but business is business when push comes to shove.
Young's been a polarizing figure among the fanbase in recent years. They were expecting a generational talent based on pre-draft projections, especially given the franchise passed on franchise quarterbacks such as Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa at the time.
That hasn't materialized thanks in no small part to health. However, Young has undoubtedly shown signs of life over the last five contests, which cannot be ignored.
For now, trading Young seems like rumors rather than anything concrete attached. If the Commanders do end up getting beaten by the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles over the next fortnight, it's worth monitoring a little closer.
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