We already knew the Washington Commanders had no intention of losing defensive tackle Daron Payne to free agency this offseason. They made that clear by placing the franchise tag on the 25-year-old Pro Bowl defensive tackle late last month.
Had he signed the one-year tag, Payne would have been set to earn $18.9 million in 2023. Instead, he’s set to earn much more.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Payne and the Commanders have agreed to a new contract that nearly resets the market at the defensive tackle position. Payne has signed a four-year, $90 million contract, making him the second-highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL.
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald’s $31.6 million average salary is the only defensive tackle who is set to earn more than Payne over the next few years.
Payne’s contract includes $60 million in guaranteed money, and more importantly for the Commanders, they get to keep their game-wrecking interior defensive lineman for the next four years. Instead of the nearly $19 million he was set to earn, Payne will now average $22.5 million for the next four years.
- Daron Payne stats last season: 64 tackles (18 for loss), 11.5 sacks, 5 PD, 1 FR
Payne will re-join his teammates on a fearful defensive line that includes Chase Young and Montez Sweat next season as coach Ron Rivera hopes to improve upon their 8-8-1 record from last season.
While this contract may not quite come close to resetting the market for now, with other elite defensive tackles set to agree to new contracts this offseason, including New York Giants’ stalwart Dexter Lawrence and free agents Javon Hargrave and Dremont Jones all set to earn large contracts, Payne’s new deal may not stand out for long.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.