Some do better than others when it comes to free roaming. Sounds like you have a chewer on your hands so it may still be some time yet. My 2yo is a chewer as well but as I work from home the only time she is in her crate is for meals and at night. If we are gone for a short period we make sure nothing is where she can get it and then she is confined to roughly half the house. If we are going to be gone for longer than an hour or so we keep her in her play pen in the front room that looks out the window. It has a bed, water dish and some of her toys in but she usually sleeps. In our case I don't ever see us totally getting rid of the crate but hopefully in time you can if you want to.
Best thing to do would be take sure everything is picked up and slowly start expanding the area they are allowed in while you are gone.