4 bold predictions for the Commanders in 2023 free agency

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /

Commanders will trade Daron Payne

The Washington Commanders appear intent on keeping Daron Payne around, which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. His production and pass-rushing prowess from the defensive line interior in 2022 was a big step in the right direction, so there could be even more to come once he enters his prime years.

Payne is set to play under the franchise tag next season at a sum of $18.93 million. The Commanders will attempt to tie down the defensive tackle long-term, but this gives them a little extra time to work something out before anything drastic is contemplated.

If those in power feel like no common ground can be reached, the Commanders could begin exploring trade options for the former first-round pick. This would be a last resort, but something that cannot be dismissed entirely with no new deal on the immediate horizon.

Washington has an abundance of talent across the defensive line after some heavy draft investment over recent years. They also have Phidarian Mathis coming back from a long-term injury, who could slot next to Jonathan Allen in the event Payne is moved on.

Hopefully, the two sides can reach an amicable arrangement that works for both parties. Otherwise, things could get extremely complicated for a position group that’s one of the NFC’s strongest heading into the 2023 offseason.