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Why did the Washington Commanders give the franchise tag to Daron Payne?

With the NFL’s offseason now in full swing, we’ve got everything from free agency, to franchise tags, which is why the Commanders are making moves.

With the NFL’s offseason now in full swing, we’ve got everything from free agency, to franchise tags, which is why the Commanders are making moves.

It’s now clear that the Commanders are not about to waste any time, as they seek to both rebuild and revamp their roster ahead of the coming season. With this latest move, the franchise has definitely laid down a marker in terms of how it intends to move forward.

Commanders give Daron Payne the franchise tag

According to reports on Tuesday, the Washington Commanders are now the first team in the NFL to allocate the franchise tag this offseason. Via an announcement on Tuesday morning, the franchise confirmed that star defensive tackle, Daron Payne, has received the tag. It is understood, that Payne will pocket approximately $18.9 million - fully guaranteed - this coming season as a result of the designation.

To be clear, the move does come as a bit of a surprise, following the release of quarterback, Carson Wentz, just one day earlier. Even more so, when considering the amount of cap space that was cleared by his departure. Adding even On the other hand, with a franchise tag deadline of March 7th, it’s not as if the team had plenty of time before Payne would have become an unrestricted free agent. With the tag now placed on Payne, the Commanders have until July 17th, to agree to a long-term deal with him. Of course, should they fail to do so, they won’t be able to renegotiate with him until after the end of the upcoming season.

Is there a catch with Daron Payne’s situation?

In principle, yes. If you missed our explanation of the franchise tag, we can tell you that due to the fact that the franchise tag is not exclusive, Payne can still negotiate with other teams in the league. Yet, the Commanders do still maintain the right of first refusal and more over should Payne agree to a new contract with another team, said team would have to either provide the Commanders with two first-round picks, or negotiate some other form of compensation in exchange.

Daron Payne by the numbers

While it’s all well and good to talk about the details of the deal, perhaps the real question is ‘why Daron Payne?’ With that in mind, here’s the simple version. At 25-years-old, Payne is in his prime and having been with the franchise, since 2018 when he was selected with the No. 13 overall pick from Alabama, he’s now part of the institution. A 6-foot-3, 320-pound blunt force object in defense, Payne is fresh off of a campaign in which he definitely turned heads. Not only was he named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, but his career-best 11.5 sacks, 64 tackles, and 20 quarterback hits across 17 games punctuated the point. In addition to his numbers, Payne has also been one of the most dependable players on the roster, having missed just one single game in five seasons.

The Commanders still have work to do

Though Payne’s tag will likely set some talking, the reality is that it is likely just the first of a number of other moves that we will see from the Commanders. For starters, there is defensive end, Montez Sweat, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, as well as Chase Young, who has played just 12 games across the last two seasons. Needless to say, both situations will need addressing. With that in mind, all we can say is what we always do: Watch this space.