The Browns are looking for additional edge rushers to add to Jim Schwartz’s attacking unit and Young emerged as an option after Washington declined his fifth-year option. However, cleveland.com insider Mary Kay Cabot said the former Ohio State standout is unlikely to land in Cleveland.
“One they’ve been linked to is Commanders defensive end Chase Young, the 2020 No. 2 overall pick out of Ohio State, but he’s not currently in the cards,” Cabot reported on May 7. “The Browns’ ears perked up when Washington declined to pick up Young’s fifth-year option by the May 2 deadline, but the mild intrigue didn’t go much further. Young has had a star-crossed start to his career with a serious knee injury in 2021 in which he tore both the ACL and patellar tendon. Last season, he played in only three games and started two, recording five tackles and no sacks.”
Young clearly has some high upside if he can stay healthy but there’s also a reason the Commanders decided to turn down his option. Pairing a healthy Young with Myles Garrett would be a dream scenario for the Browns but the 24-year-old pass-rusher will still account for a $10.9 million cap hit on the final year of his rookie deal.
Young won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, making the Pro Bowl after a 7.5 sack season with Washington. But he’s played in just 12 games since and will have to prove that he can stay on the field.
Browns Looking to Add Another Veteran Pass-Rusher
As Cabot puts it, the Browns are looking for a new version of Jadeveon Clowney, who won’t be returning to the team next season after a sour ending to last season. The Browns signed free agent Ogbo Okoronkwo but he’s far from a proven commodity. He’s started just eight games in his career with the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans with 9.5 sacks to his name.
The Browns also added Isaiah McGuire in the fourth round of the draft but he’ll need some time before becoming a consistent member of the pass-rush rotation. McGuire notched 39 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and a team-high 7.5 sacks in 12 starts last season at Missouri.
Some of the veteran options for the Browns include Frank Clark, Yannick Ngakoue, Melvin Ingram III and Leonard Floyd. All come with some concerns but Cabot likes Ingram as a potential fit.
“[Ingram] could be what the Browns need to fortify Schwartz’s d-line. Heading into his 12th season, he’d be a great mentor for young edge rushers such McGuire, Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas, and even an excellent resource for Myles Garrett and Okoronkwo,” Cabot wrote.
Browns Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz Knows What He’s Looking For
The Browns ranked 27th in sacks last season, getting to the quarterback 34 times as a team. The majority of that output came from Garrett, who put up his second consecutive 16-sack season.
The Browns parted ways with former defensive coordinator Joe Woods this offseason and brought in Schwartz, who is known for getting the most out of his guys up front. He knows what he’s looking for when it comes to his scheme and doesn’t need a highly-touted free agent to make it work.
“There are certain skill sets we look for and a little bit of play style that maybe other people might not appreciate as much,” Schwartz told the Browns’ official site in February. “They might use the person a little bit differently, and something that’s sort of involved in that scheme is that we can get guys going pretty quickly.
“I think that if we all work together, we can find some productive players regardless of (if they’re in) the first round, or as a high-priced free agent or anything else.”
The Browns have done some good work this offseason but it’s clear that they’re still looking at all their options.