The NFL Trade Deadline is rapidly approaching, and many analysts and fans are clamoring for teams to engage in a rapid arms race to try and better their teams.
Over at Sports Illustrated, Gilberto Manzano and Matt Verderame suggest the Cincinnati Bengals focus on improving their pass rush by acquiring a player many said the Bengals should have taken in the 2020 NFL draft, defensive end Chase Young.
Here’s what they had to say.
The Bengals do a nice job of getting to the quarterback, ranking ninth in pressure rate at 25.4%. However, only Trey Hendrickson has more than three sacks. Young is in the last year of his rookie deal after being a much-ballyhooed pick out of Ohio State in 2020. As mentioned above, the Commanders are likely to be letting go of some players this season—the Bengals wouldn’t need to give up more than a mid-round pick, and adding Young to a group that includes Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard and B.J. Hill might pay big dividends in the quarterback-loaded AFC.
Many outside of Cincinnati will downplay the amount of people who legitimately thought the Bengals should take Young over Joe Burrow in that 2020 NFL Draft. Luckily the front office went with the obviously correct pick of getting a franchise-changing quarterback.
As far as Young’s career, he has not really had the impact that most expected him to. He had 7.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles his rookie year on his way to earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
However, he hasn’t had 7.5 sacks in the past three years following that (6.5 since his rookie year). Injuries were the main thing, as he played only 12 games between the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
It is pretty clear that the Washington Commanders won’t be able to keep Young long-term and may be looking to get some draft capital back while they can. Young also is in the midst of his best season with five sacks so far on the year.
The deal would make plenty of sense for the right price to Cincinnati. The practice of swapping spots in rounds has become popular with late mid-round selections, and the team has routinely moved down early to get more of those Day 3 selections anyway.
The reality is that the Bengals haven’t really done this and likely have belief in their guys behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. It wasn’t that long ago that Joseph Ossai was making huge defensive plays for the Bengals, and Cam Sample has shown promise as well.
Young would be an upgrade over them, but the Bengals likely don’t see it as worth it to make a move like that to potentially mess with the chemistry that just now seems to be building up to its acceptable level.
We’ve learned to never say never with this front office as they have been willing to spend during free agency on outside players, but the deadline still hasn’t really been a time that they’ve made moves. It would send a welcome message to fans that this team is willing to try and make moves to put them over the top.