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The Case for Chase

Every so often, an NFL team makes a franchise-defining decision. April 26th, 2023, may potentially go down in Washington Commanders history as a crushing moment of infamy. The Commanders’ front office decided not to pick up Chase Young’s fifth-year option, which leaves many to make a case for Chase and his services next season.


The Contract:


Chase Young signed a standard rookie deal after being drafted second overall in 2020. The contract included a guaranteed 34 million, and 22 million dollars in signing bonuses over four years. Young will cost the Commanders roughly 10 million dollars this year in cap hits. The fifth-year option would have seen Young receive a whopping 17 million! Washington’s front office has decided that the cost does not measure up to the gamble on his health.


The Decision:


Chase Young undoubtedly had an abysmal ‘22 campaign on the heels of an injury-plagued 2021 season with a torn ACL and patellar tendon in week 10. Young would require a graft from his other knee’s patellar tendon leading to additional recovery time. He would begin the 2022 season on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Although cleared to play by week 12, Young wouldn’t return to active duty until the week 16 game against the 49ers. Young only amassed five tackles and nil throughout three games in every other defensive category. Young’s contributions to the Commanders’ defensive front steadily decreased over his first three seasons. As Chase prepares to enter his fourth season with the team, the Commanders have elected not to pick up his fifth-year option, which leads us to what comes next for Young.


Potential Suitors:


Washington Commanders


That’s right; Chase Young could easily come back to the Commanders. Washington could very well place a franchise tag on Chase Young, especially if he shows signs of prior excellence from his first season and a half. The Commanders could keep Young at a mediated price for the 2024 season, allowing the organization to work on a new deal with him while getting a second season to ensure he has indeed returned to form. Short of that, Washington would likely let this current season play out and allow him to sign elsewhere on a “make-it-or-break-it” deal. Of course, a smart GM would probably try to deal Young to receive any sort of return on their investment.


Seattle Seahawks


Outside of the longshot of staying in Washington, Seattle seems like a true dark horse in these scenarios. Pete Carroll’s system (3-4 hybrid) seems all but foreign to the likes of Chase Young. Of course, he could easily pick up the scheme, but would it make sense to alter his edge-rushing talents? The Seahawks would love to return to their “Legion of Boom” days, and Seattle would welcome Young with open arms. Seattle would have to scrounge deep in order to provide Washinton with proper trade bait.


Chicago Bears


It's probably a lock from the “it makes sense” camp, as the Bears clearly need to bulk up their defensive front, have a ton of cap space to negotiate a mega deal, and enough draft capital to intrigue the Commanders. To some, Chase Young may be considered a gamble, but to Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus, he might be the perfect youthful, dynamic leader opposite Fields. It seems like a no-brainer as long as the Bears don’t overpay and Young truly returns to dominating fashion.


Pittsburgh Steelers


While several teams could potentially suit Chase Young that don’t necessarily need him, there is something mouthwatering about Young in the Steel City; playing for the Yinzer mob makes one wonder. Mike Tomlin famously told Chase Young, “I don’t ever wanna lose enough games to get a guy like you.” The Steelers would need to think twice about this, as it could potentially mean losing Highsmith down the road (due to contract negotiations). Also, the Steelers have a great history of finding their talent in the draft and cultivating it on their own. Nevertheless, Tomlin and his tenacious defense would benefit from Young’s presence in Pittsburgh.


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While health remains a concern, Chase Young has excellent potential upside, and many teams could be interested in his proven Pro Bowl services. 2023 may not be a make-or-break year for him, but it could most definitely set up his future outside of Washington.



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