A leading trade suitor for Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young was touted by CBS Sports heading into the team's training camp.
One doesn't have to look far around the internet to get an indication of the uncertain future facing Chase Young. The defensive end has endured a rough couple of seasons since winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, with injuries and indifferent performances coming with severe scrutiny considering where the once-generational prospect was drafted.
In truth, the Washington Commanders had no choice other than to decline Young's fifth-year option. This was far from ideal - especially with Montez Sweat also out of contract in 2024 - but committing so much money to someone with 12 games and 1.5 sacks over the last two years would have been a steep gamble.
Young looks fresh and ready to rock this summer, although he participated in just three mandatory practices within the building. The Commanders are going to take the cautious approach with the former Ohio State stud, bringing him along gradually in the hope he can be unleashed fully in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Commanders could trade Chase Young before the deadline
The first weeks of the campaign are critical for Young. If the edge presence cannot produce the goods and the Commanders struggle, a situation could emerge where Washington begins taking calls to recoup draft assets before the deadline.
This was a topic recently explored by Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, who listed the Chicago Bears at No. 1 on the list of teams that could pursue Young if the Commanders became more receptive to offers. Whether this comes to fruition or not is another matter.
"Matt Eberflus got a few expensive gifts this offseason, with Ryan Poles paying big bucks to replace Roquan Smith's play-making at linebacker. While DeMarcus Walker is also an underrated addition, the coach could still use a premium edge rusher if he intends to oversee dramatic defensive improvement. [Chase] Young could be just that, and better yet, he'd help the team keep a long-term focus as it builds around quarterback Justin Fields. With a league-leading $32.6M in cap space, why not?"- Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports
This does make sense in some aspects. The Bears are approaching this offseason differently, spending significant money in free agency and getting D.J. Moore plus other high-level assets after trading the No. 1 overall pick - so there might not be a better time to gamble with quarterback Justin Fields after all the help he can get on both sides of the football.
As previously stated, it would be a bombshell if the Commanders traded Young without giving the pass-rusher a real chance to prove himself. If he cannot reach expectations, then getting something in return is a realistic option.
Young and the Commanders are in a precarious situation. There could be enough spare cash to keep him and Sweat on the books - even if it does appear unlikely when one considers the money already committed to the defensive tackle tandem of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
Can Young finally start fulfilling his enormous promise coming out of college? Or will the Commanders end up trading a player that would go down as one of the biggest draft busts in franchise history?
Time will tell.