The Washington Commanders are expected to use franchise tag
The Washington Commanders fell just short of a postseason appearance for the 2022 season. The offense’s performance kept them out. But they made a strong hire with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to correct that. The Commanders were kept in the playoff hunt by their defense, and they want to keep one key player on the unit from slipping into free agency.
Defensive tackle Daron Payne had a career-high 11.5 sacks, 64 tackles, and five passes defended last season. He has 26 total sacks in his five-year NFL career.
In an article by Ben Standing with The Athletic, there’s a new report that the Commanders are expected to use the franchise tag on Payne. Even though the Commanders can keep Payne for next season with the tag, Standing doubts the team can extend him long-term as the defensive line has too much talent:
“Washington hopes to keep Payne even if paying two defensive tackles hefty extensions is not ideal roster-building. The conundrum is the Commanders, having already paid Allen, also have defensive ends Sweat and Young poised for extensions over the next two offseasons. Sweat enters the fifth and final year of his rookie contract this season.
Young missed 22 games following a significant 2021 knee injury but offers high-end potential. Washington needs to pick up the 2020 defensive rookie of the year’s fifth-year option. From an asset allocation perspective, it’s unrealistic to extend all four, putting Payne’s extension hopes at figures he desires in doubt.”
Commanders need to extend Payne
It would make sense for the Washington Commanders to try and use the tag to keep him, even if they can’t keep him long-term. Payne is an extremely valuable defensive lineman that they can keep relatively cheap on the tag. That should push the Commanders to be more aggressive, as their window to win with a top defense is getting shorter by the expiring contracts on the defense line.
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