Washington Commanders Won’t Exercise Fifth-Year Option on Chase Young

Washington Commanders Won’t Exercise Fifth-Year Option on Chase Young

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Washington Commanders will not exercise defensive end Chase Young’s fifth-year option, making him a possible free agent after the upcoming season. The decision is not surprising, as Washington coach Ron Rivera had previously stated that they would make a decision by the May 2 deadline. Rivera had been noncommittal about Young’s option all offseason, in contrast to fellow defensive end Montez Sweat, whose fifth-year option was picked up last spring.

Rivera has stated that the team wants to assess Young’s health and commitment to the team coming off his 2021 knee injury. Young was absent from Washington’s offseason workouts in the past, and Rivera believes that not picking up his option could motivate him to have a strong season.

Young’s Injury and Performance

Young suffered a torn right ACL in November 2021, causing him to miss the final seven games of the season. He returned for the final three games of the 2022 season, recording 5 tackles, 1 quarterback hit, and no sacks. However, Dr. James Andrews, who performed Young’s surgery, has provided positive updates on his knee this offseason.

Washington drafted Young with the second pick in the 2020 draft, and he earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. He also had 12 quarterback hits. However, if Young produces a big year, Washington could use the franchise tag on him. The 2023 figure for a franchise tag on a defensive end was $19.73 million.

The decision not to exercise Young’s fifth-year option leaves Washington with two possible free agent defensive ends next offseason. While the team would like to work out an extension with Sweat, if they do not, he and Young could both become free agents after the 2023 season.

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