Back in 2020, hopes were high for the Washington Commanders’ defense.
At the time, the Commanders had just spent the number 2 overall pick on Ohio State star Chase Young a year after drafting Montez Sweat late in round 1 the previous year.
Those two were expected to form a formidable pass rush and the investment quickly paid off. In their first year together, Sweat racked up 9 sacks while Young posted 7.5 sacks and earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Unfortunately, the plan hasn’t quite worked out since then. The following year, Young only had 1.5 sacks through the first 9 games of the season before he tore is ACL. This year, he only played 3 games after recovering from the injury.
Now it looks like the Commanders could have some doubts about him for the future.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael Phillips, the Commanders are considering not picking up Chase Young’s 5th-year option on his rookie contract as a way to motivate him to perform in 2023.
NEWS: Ron Rivera says not picking up the fifth-year option for Chase Young could provide motivation, as it did to Daron Payne.
— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) February 8, 2023
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera compared the situation to Daron Payne’s contract situation last year. The team opted to not sign Payne to a long-term extension and he played out his rookie deal this year. Payne racked up 11.5 sacks and earned himself a nice raise.
This situation is different. In the Payne situation, the Commanders were going to have to give him a long-term deal either way if they wanted to keep him, but they still got to take advantage of the 5th year of his rookie deal.
With Young, they would be giving up the chance to have Young at a reasonable price for the extra year and would be forcing themselves into either a long-term extension a year early or using the franchise tag on Young if he performs well.
There are certainly questions about Young after these past two years, but declining his 5th year is a very risky move that could prove to be more costly than exercising the option and hoping he gets back on track next season.
It would be pretty shocking to see the Commanders make the decision not to pick up Chase Young’s option with so much draft capital invested in him and given how successful his rookie season was.