It will be interesting to see what the market is like for Chase Young next offseason. The Commanders declined his fifth-year option, justifiably so since he was due over $17 million with massive uncertainty about his future.
Young was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, went to the Pro Bowl, and looked like he was easily living up to the billing of being the No. 2 overall pick. Since then he’s played just 12 games over the last two seasons, tearing his ACL in a Week 10 game against the Buccaneers in 2021 and not returning to Washington’s lineup until December 2022.
This is shaping up to be a massively important season for Young, who has two paths in front of him. One sees him remaining in Washington as the team’s best defensive player and earning a huge second contract. The other sees him struggling to return to form and looking for an opportunity next offseason to revive his career.
That’s where the Bucs come in, as they might be players in either situation. It’s unlikely the Bucs break the bank to bring in Young if he returns to who he was in 2020 when they can spend that money elsewhere. Tampa Bay drafted Calijah Kancey who they hope turns into a player like Young, but the team has struggled to figure out the defensive line outside of Vita Vea.
A line with Vea and Young on it is nasty, and the type of front built to stifle offenses in the NFC South. Derek Carr, Bryce Young, and Desmond Ridder would be running for their lives twice a year, with edge pressure from Young and up the middle from Vea.
Of course, that’s assuming Young can tap back into the player he was. There’s a third path for him that might see him turn into what Jadeveon Clowney is, where he freelances the rest of his career as a mercenary pass rusher and lives on shorter contracts.
All three options seem like they could make sense for the Bucs depending on what player Young looks like in 2023.