The Washington Commanders made a bold decision in regard to the fifth-year option on Chase Young’s contract earlier this offseason. The team opted to decline it, meaning the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was going to become a free agent after the season.
It could not have been an easy decision for the Commanders to make as Young has shown high-level performance on the field. Unfortunately, that production hasn’t been present since his rookie season when he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Young suffered a gruesome knee injury in Year 2, which led to him playing in only 12 games the last two seasons. That was as big of a reason as any for declining his fifth-year option; the team wants to see if he can not only remain healthy but get back to the level he was playing at as a rookie.
After declining the option, people in the football world immediately began hypothesizing about potential trades. Washington has already committed major contracts to Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne with Montez Sweat next in line.
Paying both Sweat and Young seems like a near impossibility, especially since there is only one franchise tag to use in 2024. That is why it should not be surprising that Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated was reporting that Washington would be open to listening to offers from other teams.
Breer does caution, however, that it seems unlikely Young will be traded. This is an important season for the Commanders as they look to make that jump to being a playoff team. Trading Young for draft capital to help down the road won’t help them win games this season.
But, this is likely a situation to keep an eye on as we get closer to the trade deadline. If the Commanders fall out of the playoff race, a deal could be made. One of Young or Sweat emerging as a clear long-term keeper over the other could also lead to Washington changing plans and looking to cash in on a trade.
There is always value in pass rushers around the NFL. If they are offered something more than they would receive in the compensatory formula, it will be interesting to see what they end up doing.