The Washington Commanders had an unexpected firesale ahead of the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline. While many people expected them to trade at least one of their star pass rushers in Montez Sweat and Chase Young, the team ended up trading both.
Young was the second player traded, sent to the San Francisco 49ers for a compensatory third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That is an underwhelming return, considering how well he has played this season as he looks recovered from his knee injury.
Also, with Sweat already traded, the opportunity was there for Young to sign a long-term deal, but the Commanders opted to go in a different direction. It was a deal that was panned by many analysts as they were confused about the direction the franchise is going.
While the Young deal didn’t receive much praise, the Sweat deal did. Washington was going to lose at least one of their former first-round defensive ends, likely for a third-round comp pick down the road.
They got out ahead of that with Sweat, who was traded to the Chicago Bears for a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Whether that pick comes from the Bears or via the Carolina Panthers, it will provide the Commanders with a premium selection. That is one of the reasons Brad Spielberger of PFF praised the trade.
“No singular decision that new owner Josh Harris has made since taking over the Washington Commanders should instill more confidence from fans than this move. Is the return of a solo second-round pick for a very good young player arguably underwhelming in a vacuum? Sure. However, as we’ve been writing for weeks, Washington was going to lose one of these players for at best a 2025 third-round compensatory pick.
The Commanders now add what should be a top-40 draft pick in a very talented draft class on offense, and they still have the superior pure pass-rusher in Chase Young in the building.”
In a vacuum, the deal certainly makes a little less sense since Young was eventually traded as well. But, any time you can acquire a potential top-40 draft pick in exchange for a player that may not be part of your long-term plans, it is a win.
Both teams have to be happy with this deal. The Bears desperately need pass-rushing help and the Commanders are going to be in a position to add multiple impact rookies to their roster in 2024.