The Washington Commanders have declined to pick up the fifth-year option of their standout EDGE, Chase Young. The news was first reported by Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post, and it has sent surprised many through the NFL community.
Young, who was a first-round pick by Washington in the 2020 NFL Draft, burst onto the scene as a rookie with 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown, and won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. However, the 24-year-old’s last two seasons have been marred by injury, as he has played in just 11 games due to an ACL tear.
The decision not to pick up Young’s fifth-year option means that he will become a free agent next March, unless he and the team can come to terms on a long-term deal this summer or during the season. However, given his injury history and lack of production in recent years, it seems unlikely that Young will receive a big contract offer from Washington.
The 5th-year option would’ve earned Young $17.4 million for the 2024 season had it been picked up.
To make matters more interesting, ESPN’s Dan Graziano has noted that Young or his fellow DE, Montez Sweat, could be traded during the 2023 NFL Draft. This would be a surprising move, as both players are seen as key pieces of Washington’s defense.
It remains to be seen what Washington’s long-term plans are for their defense, but it is clear that they are willing to make some bold moves in order to try to build a championship team. The decision not to pick up Young’s fifth-year option is just the latest example of this, and it could have significant ramifications for the franchise in the years to come.