The Washington Commanders have yet to make a splash in free agency, and there’s reason to believe that will remain the case.
With little cap flexibility, it’s reasonable to expect the front office to prioritize re-signing and extending players. We’ve already seen special teamer Trop Apke and backup center Tyler Larsen ink new deals with the team.
We have no qualms with those specific moves, but they pale in comparison to the magnitude of the departures the Commanders have endured thus far.
The losses were two-fold, the first of which came in the form of Brandon Scherff “intending” to sign with the Jaguars. At the rate Jacksonville is spending money, it wouldn’t be surprising if his deal resets the market at the guard position.
The second came hours later when Tim Settle, a fan favorite whom many wanted back in Washington, signed a two-year deal with Buffalo.
As happy as we are for Settle to get meaningful snaps on a contender, his departure is a major hit to Washington’s defensive line and sparks burning question marks about some of his now-former Commanders teammates.
2 Commanders roster question marks after Tim Settle’s departure
2. Is a Daron Payne extension in the works?
The Commanders would have liked to have Settle back, though his departure suggests they weren’t comfortable matching Buffalo’s offer. It’s a fantastic move for the Bills, who get an up-and-coming nose tackle who’s itching to get the on the field after playing 24% of the snaps over his first four seasons.
The first follow-up question we have is if Washington is working on a Daron Payne extension behind the scenes. Chances are they would have made a more concerted effort to retain Settle if they had any doubts/concerns about Payne wanting to extend his contract, or worse, demand a trade.
Maybe we have a poor read on the situation, but we’re more so giving the Commanders the benefit of the doubt here than anything else.
It felt like a Settle extension would have preluded a Payne trade. Now that it’s essentially the other way around, logic says they would pivot to opening contract negotiations with Payne, if they haven’t already.
After all, Ron Rivera revealed few weeks ago that the team planned to negotiate a deal with Payne’s agent during the NFL Combine. If there was ever a time for a deal to get done, it’s after Settle’s departure.
Stay tuned. Knowing how NFL offseason predictions go, watch the Commanders give us all the slip and trade Payne.