Jaguars dodged a bullet when they passed on this edge rusher in free agency

Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young (92) against the
Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young (92) against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars should get praise for landing several players who will have key roles in 2024. They should also be commended for passing on players who might not have brought much to the table. One such player is defensive end Chase Young, who signed a one-year deal worth $13 million with the New Orleans Saints.

Young didn't have a particularly strong market, and Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated might've revealed the reason why. Breer reports that he couldn't be medically cleared due to a neck injury he suffered against the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 preseason. He then adds that the former Ohio State Buckeye will undergo surgery tomorrow.

Young was the second overall pick in 2020. Drafted by the Washington Commanders, he's struggled with injuries throughout most of his NFL career. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers at the deadline last season and managed to play a personal-best 16 games. However, Young wasn't much of a factor during his stint in the Bay Area, which is why they let him walk in free agency.

It's possible that Young will at last stay healthy. That's what the Saints are banking on. Otherwise, they wouldn't have signed him. Then again, his odds aren't particularly great, which is why the Jags steered clear from him in free agency.

Last season, the Jaguars were looking for ways to upgrade their pass rush rotation. They, along with the Baltimore Ravens, made a strong push to acquire Young before the trade deadline but the Commanders opted to trade him to San Francisco because they made the best offer.

The Jaguars were better off signing Trevis Gipson

There are no rumors that the Jacksonville Jaguars were pursuing Chase Young in free agency but it's a good thing that they didn't. It would've been great to see the front office sign Daniel Hunter or trade for Brian Burns but acquiring either one would've been cost-prohibitive. Instead, they waited until the second wave to lock up Trevis Gipson, who was a non-factor for the Tennessee Titans last year but has lots of upside.

Simply put, signing Young doesn't make sense even if he manages to stay healthy. Having to miss time throughout his career has made it difficult for him to build consistency. And if he has a banner season, he'll hit the open market once again, leaving the Saints back to square one.

Granted, Young has to be on the active roster on game day to earn the guarantees on his deal but it's hard to justify giving him that kind of deal when you take into account that there were other pass rushers without injury flags available in free agency. On the other hand, New Orleans is in a cap crunch, so they had to take the chance on Young.

The bottom line is that the Jaguars had options to round out their pass rush rotation in free agency. Chase Young wasn't one of them, and it's a good thing that they inked Trevis Gipson instead.

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