Were the Washington Commanders right to trade both Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the 2023 deadline?
It certainly hasn't been dull for the Washington Commanders heading into their Week 9 contest at the New England Patriots. After losing a close-fought game against the Philadelphia Eagles - their fifth defeat in six - and with the trade deadline rapidly approaching, nobody expected it to be.
One got the sense from some way out that things were happening behind the scenes. The Commanders are eager to start building for the future under Josh Harris' ownership group, which meant they were firmly open for business when it came to potentially selling off assets before the Halloween cut-off point.
Speculation centered on the defensive end duo of Montez Sweat and Chase Young given they were out of contract next spring. The consensus was that one would be moved for the right offer - which one became the hot topic among media and fans alike.
Everyone had their opinion. Not many though both would be dealt.
But that was the bombshell dropped on October 31.
Commanders made the right call by trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat
The Commanders decided to cut their losses with both for two Day 2 selections. This was shocking and laid further claims that a major shake-up was coming under Harris and his wealthy team of investors.
Trading Sweat and Young is just the start. This development should put everyone in the organization - from top to bottom - on high alert and increase urgency to levels not seen for some time.
It was no doubt a difficult decision to remove two established figures on Washington's defensive front in the blink of an eye. But was it the right call?
That is a double-edged sword. From a production standpoint, things could regress if unheralded figures such as Efe Obada, James Smith-Williams, K.J. Henry, Andre Jones Jr., and Casey Toohill cannot take advantage of the significant opportunity in front of them.
Take a look at Sweat and Young's combined stats from 2023 so far as further proof.
- 11.5 sacks
- 47 tackles
- 16 tackles for loss
- 20 quarterback hits
- 37 pressures
This indicates there are big shoes to fill - both on and off the field. However, these traded conclusions are rarely primarily based on production alone.
Keeping the two defensive ends happy financially when the Commanders had so much money tied up in Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne wasn't feasible. Something that Harris and his new analytics guru Eugene Shen also recognized - which saw attention turn to extracting maximum value.
In terms of the Sweat deal received from the Chicago Bears, it's a best-case scenario. The second-round pick is going to be high barring a turnaround of epic proportions from the struggling NFC North outfit, which gives the Commanders plenty of options to strengthen problem position groups.
It was an offer the Commanders couldn't refuse. It just made too much business sense given the current state of affairs. Even if Sweat will be sorely missed.
As for Young, it's slightly different.
Whether the rumors about lack of focus and ignoring assignments are truthful or not is irrelevant. The Commanders wanted Young gone by any means necessary and a compensatory third-rounder from the San Francisco 49ers was all it took for a once-generational pass-rushing talent who was taken No. 2 overall in 2020.
Durability and lasting implications surrounding the knee played a role in this thought process. But Ben Standig of The Athletic's report that stated Young's departure might end up being an addition by subtraction is a damning indictment of how his performances and overall influence were perceived by those in positions of power.
This was the right move. One that signals the start of an exciting new era that can hopefully bring a prosperous future for the Commanders - something their fanbase desperately deserves.
Things might get worse before they get better. But the long-term goal remains unaltered.
If that meant trading Young and Sweat to fund the future, so be it.