The Washington Commanders resolve a notable offseason dilemma earlier this month, signing Daron Payne to a four-year, $90 million extension deal. The agreement between the Commanders and the fifth-year defensive tackle includes a reported $60 million guaranteed.
Payne entered the offseason unsure of whether he would end up hitting free agency or agreeing to a multiyear deal with the Commanders. He did recently reveal to Sirius XM NFL Radio that following the conclusion of the 2022 season, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera assured him that he would do “whatever he can” to help him get a new contract.
“After the season I had, Coach [Rivera] came up to me and told me he would do whatever he can to get me paid this year,” Payne said. “So I believed him, and then we had a conversation not too long ago, right before they franchise tagged me. And he told me, ‘don’t worry about the tag; we just doing that to get you paid.'
“And he held up to his word, and they got the deal done.”
As Payne touched on, the Commanders placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him in late February. If Payne had signed the franchise tag, he would have then been expected to receive $18.937 million in the 2023 season.
The Commanders reportedly wanted to reach an agreement on a multiyear deal with Payne before the start of this year’s free agency period. From the defensive lineman's standpoint, he was not “concerned” after the team placed the franchise tag on him.
“I wasn’t concerned because after they tagged me, they came back with a really strong offer to start the negotiations up, so I was excited about it and I knew we were going to be able to come to terms,” Payne said. “… We really just went off the market, the market for the D-line is through the roof right now.”
Payne’s mega-deal made him the second-highest-paid defensive tackle in NFL history behind Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald.
Payne was a standout performer for Washington over the course of the 2022 campaign. The one-time Pro Bowler recorded career highs in multiple stats, including sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (18).