Patriots are named favorites to land top pass rusher when he hits free agency in 2024

Cleveland Browns v Washington Commanders
Cleveland Browns v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

It's never too early to look ahead to next year's free agency, right? Because that's what we are doing right now.

One of the more discussed headlines of the last week has been the Washington Commanders' decision not to exercise Chase Young's fifth-year option. This then opens the door for Young to hit free agency for the first time in career after the 2023 season, allowing teams to try and get their hands on one of the more promising defensive talents in the league.

It also introduces the possibility of the Commanders trading the former first-round pick. Although that's unlikely, it has been reported that they are willing to take at least any calls teams around the league may make.

But if we're focusing on Young when he hits the free agent market next year, CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin wrote a piece discussing the seven teams that would be the best fit for him to sign with and the Patriots happened to rank sixth on the list.

"Bill Belichick is never one to shy away from a big-name reclamation attempt, and with Matt Judon going on 31 and more expendable after 2023, it's possible they could look to capitalize on untapped talent by plugging Young into their hybrid scheme alongside younger guys like Josh Uche. They've recently taken a youthful approach to upgrading the front seven, by the way, spending their first three 2023 draft picks on "D.""

Benjamin makes a compelling argument, citing Matthew Judon's age as a primary reason to infuse young and explosive talent like Young into the mix next year. But the one issue he fails to acknowledge is Josh Uche's contract.

At this moment, Uche is also set to become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. Although there have been rumblings of a potential contract extension in the near future, no official word has been reported.

So if Uche stays, there may be an issue in regards to money to pay both him and Young, even with their projected cap space ranging from $95+ million or $122+ million. They have 31 players set to hit the market in 2024, meaning a lot of that money will be easily spent as some key talent will likely be retained.

On the flip side, if Uche signs elsewhere, it would make even more sense for them to sign Young, as long as he proves he can remain healthy and bounce back from his ACL tear during the 2022 season.

Since the primary focus for Bill Belichick in recent years has appeared to be building a stout and intimidating defense, a signing like Young would make the most sense.