4 worst decisions Martin Mayhew made in Year 1 as Commanders GM

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew /
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(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /

Commanders played the waiting game with Daron Payne

After a solid, if not spectacular, start to Daron Payne‘s professional career, the Washington Commanders had a big decision to make last spring. This centered around giving him an early contract extension in pursuit of avoiding further complications in 2023.

Martin Mayhew and Ron Rivera opted to stand pat with Payne and let things play out. This was a risk considering the talent he brings to the table, but something they felt was the right thing to do in the circumstances.

As it turned out, this was all the motivation Payne needed to put up career numbers. His pass-rushing prowess surged forward with additional responsibilities in the wake of Chase Young’s injury problems, racking up 11.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits, and 25 pressures along the way.

While this was exactly what the Commanders needed on the field, it’s now caused some significant complications for Mayhew. Payne is not the stoutest run defender by any stretch, but guys that can accumulate double-digit sacks don’t grow on trees and his demands are likely to skyrocket as a result.

Washington could use the franchise tag on Payne to prevent him from leaving. But that isn’t going to go down well with the former Alabama standout after such a profitable campaign.

Hopefully, a deal can be reached that works for both parties. If not, then Payne could become one of the hottest free agents anywhere on the market.