Trade Proposal Nets Bears $34.5 Million Edge Rusher From NFC Foe

Matt Eberflus, Bears

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears.

At the beginning of a rebuild, the Chicago Bears have latitude to take a few chances and currently have the opportunity to do so on a pass rusher with high upside.

Chase Young of the Washington Commanders is arguably the highest risk/highest reward bet at the position coming into the 2023 campaign. Injury concerns and effort questions hovering over Young stand in stark juxtaposition to undeniable top-end talent. Meanwhile, the Bears have $32.6 million in salary cap space and a wheelbarrow spilling over with draft picks to add a couple of game-changers to the roster.

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report on Wednesday, June 7, suggested that Chicago leverage one of its second-round selections to bring Young into the fold.

Let’s keep in mind that the Bears traded three-time All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 sixth-round pick two years ago. Washington shouldn’t expect more than what Chicago received for Mack, who came off an injury-riddled 2021 campaign but had an impressive eight-year resumé prior to the Bears-Chargers deal.

With several high-end defensive ends available on the free agent market, the Commanders may be able to replace Young and his $11 million contract with a less costly veteran on a one-year deal. … Moreover, the Bears finished the 2022 term with the fewest sacks (20) and the second-lowest pressure rate (15.9 percent). They need pass-rushing help up front.

Commanders’ Actions Indicate Chase Young is Available to Bears Via Trade

Chase Young, Commanders

GettyDefensive end Chase Young of the Washington Commanders puts on his helmet during an NFL game against the Cleveland Browns in January 2023.

The Commanders have positioned themselves as wary about trading the former No. 2 overall pick. But leaks to reporters are just words, and actions always reverberate with a far more powerful echo.

During an offseason in which the team spent big on defensive tackle Daron Payne, the Commanders passed on picking up Young’s nearly $17.5 million fifth-year option. That decision will allow the defensive end to hit free agency next March after playing out the final season of his $34.56 million rookie contract.

While it’s impossible to be certain, the signs are clearly pointing to Washington’s readiness to move on from Young. However, letting him go a year from now for nothing would be catastrophic considering his draft position and his potential value to other franchises as a 24-year-old player who lines up at a premium position.

Young’s trade value is currently at an all-time low, after a 2021 ACL tear lingered and robbed him of 14 regular season games last year. The path forward for the Commanders is two-fold: first, they need to try and establish their interest in retaining Young through the upcoming season and beyond. Second, they need to get Young back on the field where he can re-establish his standing as a quality contributor with a unique skill set ahead of the 2023 trade deadline.

Part one appears already in effect, as Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported on June 6 that Washington is “unlikely” to trade Young but is “open to listening” to offers. Part two of the plan can’t take shape until the season begins in September, at which point Young will have roughly half of a season to show that he’s still got the goods as he plays for a lucrative second contract somewhere in the NFL.

Chase Young Has Been Dominant NFL Player When Healthy

Chase Young

GettyDefensive end Chase Young of the Washington Commanders celebrates a play during an NFL game against the New Orleans Saints in October 2021.

Young got off to a slow start in his second season and has played in just 12 games over the past two campaigns. However, he blew the lid off the league as a Pro Bowler and the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020.

The defensive end finished that season with 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.

Young’s cost to the Bears in a trade would be more than just a second-round draft selection, as Chicago would also need to sign him long-term to render the move worth making. But as the worst team in the league at pressuring opposing quarterbacks in 2022, Young would be worth the pick, a big contract and more to Chicago if he can return to, or surpass, his rookie-season form.

The big question is whether Young can actually do that. The good news for the Bears is that they have the luxury of taking a wait-and-see approach, at least through the first handful of games this season.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments