The Washington Commanders turned heads when they declined to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive end Chase Young.

The move sparked understandable speculation about how they view their former 2020 first-round pick. Would he be a serious part of their future? Would he even be starting for Washington next season?

The former remains to be seen. The latter? Commanders coach Ron Rivera was succinct when asked about it, via NBC Sports' JP Finlay:

“Absolutely,” said Rivera on Chase Young as an automatic starter.

The underlying concern still revolves around how well he can recover from his devastating right knee injury suffered in 2021. Young tore his right ACL and also ruptured his patellar tendon, which sapped him of a normal start to his NFL career. After winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, he's played in just 12 games since then.

The question remains: how healthy is Chase Young heading into his fourth season with the Commanders? Rivera is still in “wait and see” mode, but said he was “pretty confident” that his star edge rusher is trending in the right direction.

“We'll find out today,” said Ron Rivera. “I'm pretty confident though because he looked good, he really did. I know the doctors were all positive about everything's he done.”

Chase Young played in just three games last season as he struggled to stay healthy. The Commanders are shutting the door on his future in Washington. If anything, the team is hoping that the declined option lights a fire in him that comes out on the field with his play.