4 pressing items for Commanders GM Martin Mayhew in 2023

(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew
(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew /
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Da’Ron Payne /

Commanders must extend Daron Payne

According to Over the Cap, the Washington Commanders have $8.35 million in cap space available before sacrifices are made. Of course, the surges to more than $30 million if quarterback Carson Wentz is let go as expected.

This provides general manager Martin Mayhew with a number of different options. Working out a contract extension with Daron Payne should be one of the first things for the front office figure to secure.

Payne enjoyed a phenomenal final year of his deal in 2022. The defensive lineman was an absolute revelation en route to 11.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits, 25 pressures, and five passes defended, which represented a steep upturn in production despite his ill-discipline against the run.

This puts the Commanders in something of a bind. What Mayhew and others must figure out is how much they can afford to give Payne when the likes of Chase Young could be seeking a bumper contract in the near future.

Spotrac projects the former first-round selection out of Alabama to command a whopping annual salary of $19.4 million on a five-year, $97.46 million deal. This is an extraordinary figure for a player that accumulated 14 sacks over his first four seasons.

Productive defensive linemen don’t grow on trees. Something that could lead the Commanders into giving Payne the going rate.