Atlanta Falcons Interest in Chase Young NFL Free Agency - Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Falcons Named Landing Spot Former No. 2 Overall Pick

“Tank for Chase Young” was a popular slogan for the Atlanta Falcons midway through the 2019 season. But former head coach Dan Quinn didn’t get the memo.

After a 1-7 start, the Falcons ended the 2019 season winning six of their final eight games to finish 7-9. With the No. 16 overall pick, that wouldn’t be nearly good enough to draft highly-regarded defensive end Chase Young.

But Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox still considers Young playing for the Falcons a possibility. Knox named the Falcons one of two potential landing spots for Young if he’s dealt before the NFL trade deadline.

“The Commanders must balance evaluating/developing quarterback Sam Howell with winning and keeping an eye on the future,” Knox wrote. “But 2020 first-round pick Chase Young might not be a part of that future.

“The Falcons may also want to consider targeting Young after recording just three sacks in three games and none in their Week 3 blowout loss to the Lions.”

In addition to the Falcons, Knox named the Detroit Lions a possible landing spot for Young.

Young has posted 10.5 sacks since being the No. 2 overall pick for the Washington Commanders in 2020. But 7.5 of those sacks came during his rookie season.

Over the past three years, Young has posted just 3 sacks, 7 quarterback hits and 5 tackles for loss.

Injuries have slowed Young considerably. He tore his right ACL and patellar tendon during Week 10 of 2021. He didn’t return until just before Thanksgiving last year.

Young is off to a decent start this season with 1.5 sacks, 6 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss and 2 quarterback hits in 2 games. But the Commanders declined to pick up Young’s fifth-year option for 2024.

That means he will be a free agent in March.

The Commanders already have defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne locked up on expensive long-term deals. If the team dedicates anymore cap space to the defensive line, it will likely be with Montez Sweat, who will also be a free agent in March.

That leaves Young out of Washington’s future plans. Unless the Commanders stay competitive in the very tough NFC East, the team should trade Young to the highest bidder before the October 31 deadline.

The Falcons have been better at placing pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. But the pressure has resulted in only 3 sacks in three games. As Knox wrote, they had none in their loss to the Lions.

Working with veterans Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree along the edge, Young would be a significant addition along the edge. Even if the Falcons don’t have interest in Young beyond 2023, he could boost Atlanta’s pass rusher in the immediate future.