The good news for the Washington Commanders is that they’re off to a 3-4 start to the season. Not that being below .500 is anything to celebrate, but the Commanders are firmly within grasp of a potential playoff spot. The bad news is that Washington has hardly been spectacular doing so.
Though their victory on the road against the Atlanta Falcons was a very good win, their other two wins have come at the expense of the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, and both of those required fourth quarter comebacks. The Commanders also own a -50 point differential on the season; only the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and New York Giants have worse point differentials on the season through seven weeks.
Advanced stats don’t paint the Commanders in a great light either. Washington ranks 22nd in the NFL in offensive EPA per play and 26th in defensive EPA per play allowed. That’s not great at all. The Commanders project by all accounts as one of the worse teams in the NFL, not one of the better ones. They should be sellers at the trade deadline. The question is, who should they be looking to part with?
Commanders trade Chase Young to New Orleans Saints
Saints receive: Young, fifth-round pick
Commanders receive: second-round pick
Why the Commanders do it
There are two reasons why the Commanders could and should look to deal Chase Young. One of which would be that Washington already has a lot invested in their defensive line.
Jonathan Allen, a star defensive tackle, is currently in the second year of the four-year $72 million extension he signed a year ago. Da’Ron Payne, another staunch defensive tackle, is under contract for three more years and the Commanders are on the hook for at least the next two seasons at $21.6 million and $26.1 million respectively.
Complicating matters is the fact that both Young and Montez Sweat are impending free agents. Which leads to the other reason the Commanders should look to move Young: he simply hasn’t produced the way Washington would’ve hoped when they selected him second overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Though Young is enjoying a bounce back season this year (he ranks 11th among edge rushers in ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric), Sweat has been the more productive and available player in their careers. Sweat has 34.5 sacks in 66 career games, while Young has 14 sacks in only 33 games. His rookie season saw him produce 7.5 sacks came in his rookie year. Since then, he has 6.5 sacks in 18 games played.
Health has really hampered Young’s career, but it has put his standing with the Commanders in a precarious spot. As a result, his name has swirled in trade rumors. Washington probably can’t keep both Young and Sweat. Young could be the one who could be sent packing.
Why the Saints do it
The Saints badly need support rushing the passer. They currently rank 30th in ESPN’s pass rush win rate. They also simply don’t have that many sacks. New Orleans has 13 sacks on the season, tied for fifth-lowest in the NFL. Only the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, and Houston Texans have fewer sacks on the season. And of the 13 sacks they do have, 4.5 of them have come from Carl Granderson.
They need more pass rushers and have a history of making win now moves. They could be the ones to pay up for either Young or Sweat. Young being 24 years old could fetch more draft picks. If the Commanders get an offer like this, this would be a trade that would benefit both sides.