The Chicago Bears have a load of cash and a huge hole on the edge of the defense, which means a high-profile pass rusher is in play via free agency or a trade.
Chicago Bears Central co-host Haize took to Bleacher Report on Sunday, May 28, to float a handful of trade hypotheticals that can help the franchise improve on its pass rush — a major weakness in 2022 that Chicago has yet to adequately address. While most of his proposals were value plays for guys with high upside and recent injury histories who the Bears can probably land for a single mid-round pick, there was one blockbuster deal among the bunch — a pitch for Washington Commanders pass rusher Chase Young.
The move would see the Bears swap a 2024 fourth-rounder and a couple of future third-round selections in exchange for Young, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Haize acknowledged that depending on the timing of the hypothetical deal and Young’s performance in the interim, Chicago might need to bump up the 2024 fourth-round asset to a third-rounder or even a second-round selection.
“We don’t know exactly what the Commanders are going to be really wanting back for Chase Young,” Haize said. “The Commanders may very well wait it out until the trade deadline. Hopefully he comes back healthy. They could kinda let him build up that trade value, and if they do that it might price the Bears out.”
“On paper, [Young] brings every skill set that the Bears could possibly want,” he continued. “I like the way that Chase Young could be a difference maker for the Chicago Bears on that side of the ball in a position [of] need.”
Chase Young Presents Bears With Injury, Character Risks
Young started off his career with a bang, racking up 44 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, 24 quarterback pressures, 12 quarterback hits, 7.5 sacks, four pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown, per Pro Football Reference. He also earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
However, everything that has happened since has been a red flag on an otherwise impressive resumé. Young, who turned 24 years old in April, tore his ACL during his second professional campaign and missed nearly half of the season (eight games). The knee issue lingered and cost Young all but three games during the 2022 campaign. And that isn’t where his problems end.
“There’s also some character concerns when it comes to Chase Young, motor concerns,” Haize said, noting that the defensive end has been known to take plays off. “[But] he’s young [and] fits the Bears’ timeline.”
After inking Young to a four-year rookie deal worth $34.6 million in total, the Commanders declined to pick up his $17.5 million fifth-year option. As a result, Young will become a free agent in the summer of 2023.
Bears Must Decide if Young Trade Makes Sense as Value Play
Washington has beefed up and solidified its defensive line considerably over the last season, which makes Young a prime trade candidate ahead of next year’s deadline. That gives the Commanders roughly half of the 2023 campaign to re-establish Young’s trade value before shopping him to a team like the Bears.
As such, any deal for Young probably wouldn’t happen until mid-season, which would give Chicago general manager Ryan Poles time to both evaluate the defensive end’s health and attitude, as well as the Bears’ ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks off the edge.
Haize reiterated that Poles seeks value plays more so than looking at an individual player’s talent or current contract number. There is no question that Young fits what the Bears want to do on defense if he can remain on the field, and a few mid-round assets over the next two years isn’t an incredibly steep price to pay for a former No. 2 overall pick with All-Pro pass-rushing potential.
The bigger questions are whether Young possesses the type of personality a franchise wants stomping around in a young locker room and if so, how much will it cost to keep him in said locker room long-term?
If Young has even a moderately good season in 2023, he will command a sizable contract on the open market one year from now given his age and skill set at what is, and always will be, a premium position in the NFL. Because that is the case, a trade probably doesn’t make sense for Chicago unless it comes along with a contract extension.
That means Poles must decide with only eight games of 2023 data, or possibly less, whether he wants to commit upwards of $20 million annually, if not more, over a span of four or five years to a player with well-developed injury and character issues through just three professional seasons.