The Washington Commanders ended last season knowing that they had to make a decision about the future of defensive tackle Daron Payne. The team moved accordingly by placing the franchise tag on Payne before any other player in the NFL received the designation.
Washington doubled down on their decision on Sunday when it was announced that Payne and the Commanders came to an agreement on a four-year, $90 million contract with a $28 million signing bonus, $45 million fully guaranteed, and $60 million in total guarantees. The huge payday makes Payne the second-highest paid interior lineman behind Aaron Donald.
Now that Payne has been locked down, the Commanders have solidified that they are keeping their defense intact which will be an important aspect of the team’s success next season. At the end of the Commanders 2022 campaign, Payne discussed what the defense needed to do to go to the next level in 2023.
After having his fifth-year option exercised by the club ahead of the 2022 season rather than agreeing to an extension, Payne excelled on an individual level, making his first Pro Bowl and setting several career highs.
He posted 11.5 sacks, fourth-most among interior DLs, after accumulating 14.5 in his previous four campaigns.His tackles (64), tackles for loss (18), quarterback hits (20) and pass deflections (five) were also career-best marks.