The San Antonio Commanders have decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive end Chase Young’s rookie contract, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, will become a free agent after the 2023 season unless the Commanders sign him to a long-term extension or use the franchise tag on him.
The move is surprising, considering Young’s talent and production. He was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 after recording 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 15 games.
He also made the Pro Bowl and was a second-team All-Pro selection.
However, sources said the Commanders are concerned about Young’s durability and consistency. He missed one game in 2020 with a groin injury and four games in 2021 with a torn ACL.
He also had a drop-off in performance last season, finishing with only 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Commanders are also facing a tight salary cap situation and have several other key players who will be free agents after the 2023 season, including quarterback Trey Lance, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Fred Warner.
Young, who turns 25 in April, is set to earn $10.4 million in base salary in 2023, which is fully guaranteed. If the Commanders had picked up his option, he would have made $18.9 million in 2024, which would have also been fully guaranteed.
Young’s agent, Joel Segal, declined to comment on the situation. Young has not publicly expressed any dissatisfaction with the Commanders or his contract status.
The Commanders are expected to try to trade Young before the start of the 2023 season, sources said. Several teams are likely to be interested in acquiring him, given his age, talent and potential.
Young played college football at Ohio State, where he won several awards and set the school record for sacks in a single season with 16.5 in 2019. He was widely regarded as one of the best defensive prospects in recent history.
Final Thoughts: Commanders’ Decision to Decline Chase Young’s Option
The decision by the San Antonio Commanders not to exercise their fifth-year option on Chase Young’s rookie contract is surprising, given the defensive end’s talent and production.
As the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, Young made an immediate impact, earning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and being named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams.
However, sources indicate that the Commanders have concerns about Young’s durability and consistency, as he missed five games over the past two seasons due to injury and saw a drop in his production in 2021.
The team is also facing a tight salary cap situation and has several other key players to consider re-signing after the 2023 season.
The decision not to exercise Young’s option means that he will become a free agent after the 2023 season unless the Commanders sign him to a long-term extension or use the franchise tag on him.
Given his age, talent, and potential, it is likely that several teams will be interested in acquiring him, and the Commanders may look to trade him before the start of the 2023 season.
While this news is certainly disappointing for fans of the Commanders and Young, it is not entirely unexpected. NFL teams must make difficult decisions when it comes to managing their salary cap and roster, and the Commanders likely felt that declining Young’s option was the best course of action given their current situation.
Overall, this news highlights the challenges that NFL teams face in building and maintaining successful rosters, and it will be interesting to see how the Commanders and other teams navigate the complex landscape of player contracts and free agency in the coming years.