Would signing the pass-rushing tandem of Chase Young and Montez Sweat to new deals actually put the Washington Commanders in a sticky salary cap situation?
The reasoning behind this popular sentiment is that signing both Young and Sweat would allocate far too much salary cap to just one position group. This is thanks in part to the dynamic defensive line duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne both recently inking long-term pacts to stay in Washington for the foreseeable future.
But where else are the Commanders spending big?
Commanders might be able to keep Montez Sweat and Chase Young
Washington’s superstar wide receiver Terry McLaurin is already locked up long term. Although Curtis Samuel is another on the lookout for a new deal in 2024.
Veteran offensive linemen Charles Leno Jr., Nick Gates, and Andrew Wylie, along with tight end Logan Thomas, are all signed through the 2024 season. Although one could make a case for Leno and Thomas being cut candidates without improvements in 2023.
The Commanders' young offensive core of Sam Howell, Jahan Dotson, Dyami Brown, Brian Robinson Jr., and Chris Rodriguez Jr. are all on cheap rookie deals. The only exception is third-down back Antonio Gibson, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
The same goes for essentially Washington's entire secondary apart from veteran cornerback Kendall Fuller. Like Gibson, he will possibly be looking for greener pastures next spring depending on how things unfold during the 2023 season.
After analyzing the Commanders' present salary cap situation, there might be room for both Sweat and Young - as well as promising young safety Kamren Curl.
Commanders 2023 and future salary-cap outlay
Team Salary Cap
With so many of Washington’s players still on rookie contracts during the next few seasons, the numbers clearly indicate that it is more than possible for the Commanders to actually afford to keep both of their former first-round pass-rushing specialists.
According to Over The Cap, Washington sits at just over $11 million in cap space entering the 2023 season. But looking ahead to next offseason, the Commanders will have a whopping $83 million to spend with 51 players under contract.
Given the current cap construction, the Commanders could theoretically sign both Sweat and Young to new deals worth an estimated $20 million per year each, as well as extending Curl for about $13 million per season.
After these deals, Washington’s new ownership would still have roughly $30 million in cap space. This could be used to re-sign other key players as well as add outside talent to the roster next summer through free agency.
The first step before any new deals can get done is the forthcoming sale of the franchise. This has everything on hold and is the key to a potentially prosperous future.
With a new era set to begin in Washington, the Commanders would be wise to keep their elite defensive unit intact. This creates an identity around their Pro Bowlers on the defensive line and future stars in the secondary.
Re-signing all of Sweat, Young, and Curl to long-term deals may seem like a long shot to many. But with starters at multiple key spots getting paid less than the going rate, the price may be right to keep the crew together.