Will Trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat Haunt the Commanders  Playoff Dreams?

Will Trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat Haunt the Commanders Playoff Dreams?

In the Washington Commanders‘ locker room, Chase Young’s corner locker, once filled with his belongings, now sits empty, save for a teammate’s post-practice sweats and a used towel. This emptiness marks a significant change. Just a day after Washington (3-5) made the surprising decision to trade away both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, who were fellow first-round defensive linemen, the atmosphere at the Commanders’ facility appeared to be a mix of uncertainty and business as usual.

The absence of the usual music and laughter, which often came from Young and Sweat’s corner, felt odd. These two close friends had a way of providing the soundtrack to the Commanders’ locker room, whether through their conversations or their music choices.

Wide receiver and team captain Terry McLaurin summed it up, saying, “I think it sinks in when you come in here and you don’t hear them, you don’t see them.”

The Commanders initially traded Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick. Subsequently, Chase Young was sent to the San Francisco 49ers in return for a third-round pick. It’s worth noting that no other NFL team, especially one with aspirations of making the playoffs this year, completed such high-profile trades on the deadline day, as confirmed by head coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera mentioned, “With the compensation we’re getting for these players, it’s gonna give us an opportunity to continue to build for the future and do things a little differently. So yeah, there may be a little bit of a shift in terms of the paradigm and how we’re gonna construct things.

At the start of this season, Washington had high hopes for a healthy Chase Young and their trio of first-round picks on the defensive line (Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat). They had expected this group to be a game-changer for the team under new ownership.

However, reality didn’t align with their expectations. The Commanders currently rank 10th in sack rate after eight games but find themselves in 29th place for yards allowed per game. They’ve also given up the second-most points per game (28.5) in the league. This lack of success prompted the team’s decision-makers to change their approach and provide more opportunities to other players on the line, such as Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams.

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Rivera stated, “It gives us a chance to spread it around and keep some of the guys that we want to keep, go after some of the guys we want to go after and draft who we want to draft. If we end up with the five picks within the top 100 or whatever that number is, that’s pretty good for us going forward.”

Former teammates of Young and Sweat weren’t entirely surprised by their joint departure. Defensive tackle Daron Payne noted, “You kind of figured they wanted to make some moves,” while wideout Jahan Dotson mentioned the social media speculation that had been circulating during the offseason.

For those still with the team, the trades and future planning won’t deter their goal of winning games and fighting for a playoff spot. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. emphasized the need to focus on the present, saying, “You got to be able to compartmentalize and move forward.”

When asked about the team’s direction this year, Leno Jr. acknowledged the uncertainty but maintained the team’s determination to win games. He said, “The season is nowhere near over.”

Players may not be fully aware of the front office’s plans, as McLaurin pointed out, “We don’t really know the mindset behind it because they don’t tell us the mindset.

Rivera revealed that the trade deadline plans were the result of thoughtful discussions involving the front office and Josh Harris, the managing partner of the Commanders’ first-year ownership group. This alignment between ownership, front office, and coaching staff ensures a shared vision for the team’s short- and long-term goals. They also consulted newly hired senior vice president of football strategy Eugene Shen in making the decision regarding Sweat, Young, or both.

One factor contributing to this forward-looking approach is the performance of quarterback Sam Howell, who has shown promise in his first season as an NFL starter. “You lose two players like that, it gives an opportunity for some other guys to get in there and prove what they can do,” Howell mentioned. The team remains committed to winning this season and believes they have the talent to do so.

As more players returned to the locker room following Wednesday’s practice, they began the process of moving forward and adjusting to life without Sweat and Young.

About Author

Maria Silva

Maria Silva, a graduate of UCLA in Journalism, is the voice for the voiceless. Her dedication to investigative reporting and her ability to uncover hidden truths make her an asset to the team. Maria's articles often shed light on critical social issues, providing a platform for change. Her well-crafted narratives keep you engaged and informed on the trending news of the day.

1 Comment

  • I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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