Young among players with 5th-year option declined

Mike Florio and Chris Simms take a deep dive into players whose teams declined their fifth-year options, including Chase Young, Patrick Queen and more.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: Let's look at the ones who got a no thank you, as announced by the teams. And it starts with the guy who was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, Chase Young. Had the torn ACL in November of '21, hasn't played much since then. I think the winds have been blowing in that direction for a while, that he wasn't going to have his option picked up.

And now, look, this is it. It creates a scenario where he has to prove himself. And he may go out and have a monster year knowing it's a contract year for him, the same kind of gamble we've seen the Giants make with Daniel Jones, and that the Packers may end up making with Jordan Love. Go ahead and prove us wrong, go out and have a great year.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, that's right. You've got to-- he's got to prove it. He's got to prove it. He's got to stay healthy. He's got to show the explosion and the disruption of why he was the number two pick in the draft. It was-- hey, it was a good rookie year, there's no doubt.

But even in that rookie year, there was like, hey, I don't know. Is he a great pass rusher? We'll see. He's a great athlete and a great specimen. He plays hard and does all these things. Is he a great pass rusher? I think that's a real question in the league and in Washington.

And then you add in the injury concern, that makes it hard to give a guy that, wait, your living is to be explosive coming off the edge with a 320 pound man pushing on you. And your knee hasn't quite recovered to the way we would like it at this point. Yeah, you can't go down that road. So it is a big prove it year.

And they got a lot of money committed to that D-line in Washington to where, yeah, they just can't throw out and go, oh, hey, our D-line is making more than $100 million a year. And now, we just got to figure out the rest of the football team. So this is a big year for Chase Young.

And Montez Sweat's on the other side, who's a damn good pass rusher, too. And they got some decisions to make with him as well, let alone they paid the two Alabama boys in the middle. So we'll see where it goes with Chase Young. But I think it's one where I could see him being somewhere else after this year is over.

MIKE FLORIO: Any other names from that list that surprise you as guys who had the option not picked up?

CHRIS SIMMS: I can't say that there is anybody that really surprises me. You know, Patrick Queen, he's a good player. But last year was probably the best year he's played. And of course Roquan Smith was traded there, or they acquired him because Patrick Queen wasn't playing up to the capabilities of a first round pick at that point.

So I was interested to see that. I don't know if there's anyone else that really surprises me there. You know, I like Jordan Brooks on the bottom of Seattle, the linebacker. I think he's extremely talented. But he's the guy, tore his ACL last year too. So it's hard to guarantee that fifth year option off of that. But no, I think for the most point-- most part, Chase Young was the big name on this list.

MIKE FLORIO: Five linebackers on that list.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, there is. K'Lavon Chaisson of the Jaguars, never quite found a comfort zone anywhere. I remember he came in with a lot of hype and great personality. We interviewed him at the combine. That may have been the day that you were-- well, you were-- that was pre vomit in the trash can for you? You were there for the K'Lavon Chaisson interview?

CHRIS SIMMS: I was there. I'm pretty sure I was there for K'Lavon Chaisson. Either way, I know, I really liked him coming out in the draft too. I did. I thought he had a chance to be an explosive edge pass rusher there. But it hasn't worked out.

And another way to-- Mike, to your point, like you said last week and even yesterday, I think he got stuck within the coaching change and things like that in a scheme, now, that doesn't fit him. He was made for the Seattle Gus Bradley 4-3, fly off the edge, be that type of guy. And now, they don't play that type of defense there.

Now, it's more the Bucs defense. It's 3-4 rooted. And he's stuck in a spot where his skill set doesn't fit that scheme all the way. And that's what's unfortunate sometimes for young players when coaching changes happen.

MIKE FLORIO: And that was the year that COVID first kicked in. But there was a scouting combine. The Pro Day workouts, I think, got abandoned. But the next year, there wasn't even a combine. So I don't know how much that affects it, the evaluation. We got plenty of guys who don't have the fifth year option picked up.

I haven't compared this year to past years. Maybe the numbers are roughly the same. And I wouldn't be surprised if they are because it is a crapshoot. Half the guys are going to work out. Half the guys aren't. That's something you never hear during the hours and hours and hours of draft coverage.

Because again, you don't want to rain on the guy's parade. And also-- I also believe that if you start pointing it out generally that half of these guys just aren't going to work out, the next question from the audience becomes which half? And the truthful answer to that is I have no idea. And the accurate response to that would be, well, why am I listening to you then?

So I think that's one of the reasons why they just opt for everything is awesome. Everything is great. One last guy in here is Jeff Okudah. Now, CJ Henderson was traded from the Jaguars to the Panthers. And the Panthers still acquired the fifth year option. Something happened in the Jeff Okudah trade that took that off the table, reconfigured, reassessed. Some of the money's being paid by the Lions.

Not that they were going to pick it up anyway, but he's not even eligible for it at this point. So again, they weren't going to pick it up. They already picked it up on AJ Terrell in Atlanta. So they're not going to pick up a fifth year option for two corners, especially when there's a reason why Okudah was available.

CHRIS SIMMS: Exactly right. He's got to prove it too. Again, he hasn't lived up to that third pick in the draft billing there. It's been injuries. And this year was better. But before that, underwhelming man-to-man coverage.

So yeah, they got him in the fact of, hey, we think the change of scenery could be good. We like this guy coming out of college. He had all this pressure in Detroit as the number three pick. He got injured. He was in the doghouse. It just never worked out.

They're hoping they can strike gold here, and get him going, get him playing really well. And then maybe get to the end of the year and go, hey, here's a nice little contract to dangle out in front of you. And they sign him up for another two or three years after that.

MIKE FLORIO: And if not, he leaves you in free agency. And if they have net losses versus gains, he contributes to the haul of compensatory draft picks they get in 2024. That's one of the things that gets overlooked in these bargain basement trades that get done. You get the guy for a year and you may end up with a wash.

Now you got to pay him this year. I think that's one of the reasons why the Lions wanted to move on and now are paying some of that salary. But from a draft pick standpoint, you may end up exactly where you were if you let the guy leave if he has a good year and he doesn't want the contract that you offer him and you don't want to franchise tag him.