4 easy decisions the Commanders can make in 2023 free agency

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew, Eric Bieniemy, and Ron Rivera
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Martin Mayhew, Eric Bieniemy, and Ron Rivera /
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /

Commanders franchise tag Daron Payne

One of the biggest priorities for the Washington Commanders over the coming days is resolving Daron Payne‘s future. The defensive tackle put together a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign in a contract year, which gives the franchise a potential headache considering how much this strengthens his position at the bargaining table.

Payne demonstrated supreme qualities when it came to generating pressure from the interior last season. He’s also only just entering his prime, so letting him walk for nothing is absolutely out of the question.

Multiple reports suggest the Commanders are going to do whatever it takes to keep Payne around. If terms cannot be agreed on a new deal, then slapping the franchise tag on their former first-round selection is almost guaranteed.

This gives the Commanders additional time to work out a long-term agreement with the player’s representatives. If not, then trading Payne is another option Washington has in this scenario.

Not giving Payne an extension ahead of time is going to cost the Commanders. But few would argue how important the lineman is to the team’s overall fortunes on defense after he finally came of age during the previous campaign.