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Rivera: Young understands why Commanders declined option

Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Washington Commanders pass-rusher Chase Young understands why the team elected not to exercise his fifth-year option, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

"He gets it; he understands," Rivera told reporters, including ESPN's John Keim. "He'll come in and give everything he's got."

Rivera pointed to Daron Payne's situation as an example for Young to emulate. The Commanders chose not to extend Payne after picking up his fifth-year option, which led to the defensive tackle recording a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2022. Washington rewarded Payne with a four-year, $90-million contract this offseason following his productive year.

"Guys that produce for us, we want to keep them around. That's been the message. I believe (Young) has adapted to it nicely," Rivera added. "He's working hard. I'll be excited to see him when he has to be here."

The 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year found immediate success in his first NFL season with 7.5 sacks. However, his production has cratered over the last two years. Young has posted just 1.5 sacks in 12 games since 2021. He also tore an ACL and ruptured a patellar tendon in 2021, which limited his 2022 season to just three games.

Young's fifth-year option would have been worth just north of $17.4 million. He's slated to become a free agent after the 2023 season.

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