2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chase Young
Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chase Young

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Back in 2020, defensive lineman Chase Young was Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 7.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and returned one of those fumbles for a touchdown. It was no secret the Washington Commanders were tanking their season at the trade deadline; Chicago already benefited from acquiring edge Montez Sweat who was named to the Pro Bowl this season.

Should they go after the other player from that Washington duo in Young?

Injuries are ultimately part of what cut Young’s career short in Washington. He could not stay healthy and his torn ACL in 2021 also cost him most of the 2022 season. This season was actually the first time in his career he played in 16 games and he tied his career-high with 7.5 sacks this season.

Despite not having a sack in the postseason thus far with the San Francisco 49ers, his performance this season may suggest that when he is healthy, he still has the ability to make some plays. Given San Francisco’s highly talented defense and need to free up some cap space, Young is probably not someone they are going to extend a long-term contract to, leaving him open to the rest of the league.

In all of his time with Washington, Young played and learned from Sweat. Therefore, a union between the two would benefit both parties as Young would be reunited with a familiar leader and the Bears could learn from Sweat about some of the strengths and weaknesses of Young. His previous experience with Sweat would also most likely help to make his acclimation to the Bears’ defensive strategy faster. All in all, there are a lot of benefits to going after Young.

Clearly, the biggest drawback is the injury concern. If the Bears decided to pursue Young, they would have to do so knowing in advance that he will not be available to play for all of their games next season. However, for the right price, that is a risk worth taking for the talent that he provides.

The 2024 season is a chance for Young to prove what he can do when he has a full offseason to learn the defensive scheme and develop chemistry with the rest of the defense, something he has not been able to do for a full season since his rookie year. Since this year is more of a time to prove himself, his contract would most likely be a one-year deal because Chicago would probably not want to make any long-term commitments.

In the past two seasons, Young has not even made $5 million. In fact last season, he barely made more than $500,000. Therefore, a one-year deal for about $2 or $3 million would be realistic. Further, given the Bears have almost $50 million in salary cap space for the 2024 season, this would be an incredibly cap-friendly deal.

However, sometimes athletes want more than they are worth. In that case, it is important for Chicago to balance what they are willing to pay with what is realistic for him to be paid. What he may want might not be just $2 or $3 million, especially for someone who had an over $23 million salary in 2020.

But, given his contract with the 49ers this past season, $2 or $3 million is still quite the upgrade and thus that deal would be beneficial to both parties. If he demanded more than that, then this is most likely not a good investment for Chicago.

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