Commanders decline to pick up former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young’s fifth-year option after ACL injury

Chase Young played in just three games during the 2022 NFL season. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Chase Young played in just three games during the 2022 NFL season. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

Washington Commanders defensive lineman Chase Young looked like an absolute superstar during his rookie season. Young wrecked more experienced offensive linemen, racking up 7.5 sacks and winning the Associated Press’ Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Two seasons later, the Commanders declined Young’s fifth-year option.

There were questions over whether the team would extend a fifth-year option to Young. Though his career started strong, Young sustained an ACL tear in his right knee during the team’s Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. He missed the rest of the 2021 NFL season and played in just three games during the 2022 NFL season.

Since his rookie year, Young has just 1.5 sacks in 12 total games.

Is Chase Young’s time with the Commanders coming to an end?

The move doesn’t necessarily signal the end of Young’s tenure with the Commanders. Young, 24, still has one season left on his rookie contract. If he excels during the 2023 NFL season, Young could still secure a lucrative extension with Washington.

Though it’s not exactly the same situation, there is some precedent for the Commanders paying players in the middle of a contract year.

Given that the team declined Young’s fifth-year option, though, he would really have to play well in order to prove to the team he deserves another year. And if Young plays that well, he might be better off hitting the free-agent market.

If Young can rediscover the form that made him the AP’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, the Commanders would likely have to fight with a number of other teams to secure Young’s services in the future.

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