While the Washington Commanders are currently involved in several controversies, including recent financial allegations that have come to light, that didn’t stop the team from making sure their best defensive player didn’t become a free agent. Before ESPN’s exclusive interview was released on Tuesday morning, one that directly implicated commissioner Roger Goodell, it was revealed by NFL insider Adam Schefter that the Commanders had franchise-tagged Daron Payne.
Washington DT Daron Payne became the first player this off-season to receive the franchise tag, per sources. The franchise tag for Payne is projected to be $18.937 million. Washington placed the tag on Payne early this morning. pic.twitter.com/cmbeaRciig
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2023
The Commanders later confirmed their intentions to franchise tag the 25-year-old defensive tackle, who became the first player this offseason to receive the designation this offseason. If the two sides are unable to reach a contract extension prior to the deadline, Payne will make $18.937 million. The move to tag Payne came after Washington released both quarterback Carson Wentz and starting slot cornerback Bobby McCain on Monday afternoon, which opened $28.42 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.
The NFL world reacted to the huge Washington Commanders news on Twitter.
“Daron Payne is going to have an even better season this year playing on the tag. I’m looking forward to him moving into the elite top 3 DT’s in the league. Aaron Donald pass the torch already,” boldly stated one fan.
Daron Payne is going to have an even better season this year playing on the tag. I’m looking forward to him moving into the elite top 3 DT’s in the league. Aaron Donald pass the torch already.
— Mark Moseley Jr (@MarkMoseley3) February 28, 2023
#FFIDP – Daron Payne had a career-year in terms of production with 11.5 sacks this past season. He greatly outperformed his expected totals, more so than any other player at the DT position.
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) February 28, 2023
“Probably had to tag Daron Payne, until new ownership,” said one fan. “Probably can’t commit to a big contract extension with so many unknowns. I hope Payne understands that.”
Probably had to tag Daron Payne, until new ownership. Probably can’t commit to a big contract extension with so many unknowns. I hope Payne understands that.
— Chad (@BogeyLife1) February 28, 2023
“The Commanders applied the franchise tag to Daron Payne today to distract from the latest Dan Snyder accusation piece,” said Cowboys Youtuber Tom Downey. “Prove me wrong”
The Commanders applied the franchise tag to Daron Payne today to distract from the latest Dan Snyder accusation piece
Prove me wrong
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) February 28, 2023
With Washington placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Payne, he’s still allowed to negotiate with other teams around the league, who would have to part with significant draft compensation to lure him away. We’ll have to see if that actually happens, though.