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Grading the Saints’ signing of former 49ers DE Chase Young

It took a while for all the details to come to light, but now we know the structure, risks, and true costs of Chase Young’s contract with the New Orleans Saints. So now the fun part: evaluating it with a simple letter grade.

This is complicated, so stay with us. Young signed a one-year contract carrying $13 million in guarantees, and so long as he’s active and healthy for all 17 games, he’ll see every dollar. But his salary cap hit in 2024 is just over $3.4 million. How did the Saints do that? Why not pay it off all at once?

Young’s contract is structured to include $7.99 million in 17 per-game roster bonuses, of which 16 are treated as a signing bonus for accounting purposes. So they’re guaranteed now and spread out over the next five years to more easily fit on the books. The Saints will get a $470,000 cap credit next year for any games that Young misses in 2024.

So if this is a one-and-done deal the Saints will be paying $3.4 million for Young in 2024 and as much as $9.1 million in 2025 as dead money. If Young misses extensive time that 2025 dead money figure goes down significantly. It’s about as team-friendly a deal as it gets while also making concessions for the player. Young has a lot of incentive to recover quickly from offseason neck surgery and get back on the field in time for Week 1.

But Young is worth the risks. When he’s healthy, engaged, and firing on all cylinders he looks like the best pass rusher in the NFL. The Saints are hoping to get that version of him more than what the San Francisco 49ers saw after trading for Young last year: a slow-footed player who shied away from contact, and who they allowed to leave in free agency without a fight.

Grade: B

So with all this in mind, we’re grading this move with a B. Young looks like a good pickup, not a great one, and his availability is our greatest concern. It’s reassuring that the Saints protected themselves financially but fans have seen too many talented defensive ends go missing for weeks on end because of injuries in recent years. Hopefully Young can end that streak rather than continue it.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire