3 Commanders position groups that improved most in 2023 free agency

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Jacoby Brissett
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Jacoby Brissett /
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Which Washington Commanders position groups improved most during the opening fortnight of a fascinating free agency period in 2023?

There was nothing flashy about the way Ron Rivera and his staff went about their business early in free agency. Money is currently tight for the Washington Commanders despite not having a franchise quarterback to pay, so landing marquee acquisitions was out of the question for a team that’s shifted to drafting and developing in pursuit of progression.

Whether this pays off for Rivera remains to be seen. The head coach appears confident Washington is heading in the right direction, but the pressure is about to increase significantly after Dan Snyder got two formal offers for the Commanders that reportedly meet his $6 billion asking price.

It might have been an underwhelming free agency for fans. But one doesn’t have to look far throughout recent history to see how big-money signings in Washington don’t necessarily move the needle.

With that being said, here are three position groups that did manage to improve during free agency in 2023.

Position Group No. 1

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Daron Payne /

Commanders improved the DL

This is more a case of retention improving the Washington Commanders’ fortunes on the defensive front than any major additions. There was a real worry the team would lose Daron Payne in free agency after his breakout 2022 campaign, but those in power made keeping him around long-term their top priority.

Payne was given the franchise tag quickly. This was followed by a four-year, $90 million extension with $60 million guaranteed, which means the Commanders now have a substantial amount invested in their starting defensive tackle tandem.

Efe Obada also got a new deal and the team added additional depth in the form of Abdullah Anderson. Something that should make this unit an area of significant strength once again in 2023.