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Will Daron Payne be franchised by Commanders?

We discuss if Daron Payne will be franchise tagged by the Washington Commanders.

Daron Payne #94 of the Washington Commanders looks on before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FedExField on January 1, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Feb 28 update: The Commanders announced they have placed the franchise tag on Daron Payne.

The Washington Commanders are coming off an 8-8-1 season and a last-place finish in the NFC East. Despite the division finish, Washington’s defense ranked third in the league in yards allowed and seventh in points per game. A key contributor was defensive tackle Daron Payne who had a career year but is now set to hit free agency.

Payne was drafted with the 13th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Commanders ended up exercising his fifth-year option ahead of the 2022 season. He has 26 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception, with 291 combined tackles in 81 career games. Payne made the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Aaron Donald in the 2023 Pro Bowl.

NFL teams were able to start tagging players starting on Tuesday, February 21st, with a deadline of March 7th.

Will Daron Payne receive the franchise tag in 2023?

The cost of franchising a DT is $18,937,000 for the 2023 season. Washington should use the tag on Payne. He is coming off the best year of his career, and this would allow the Commanders to buy, literally, extra time to work out a long-term deal. Washington is expected to release veteran quarterback Carson Wentz which would already free up the cap space needed to tag Payne.