Daron Payne - Commanders DT
One of the big reasons why the Washington Commanders would have found it difficult to extend Montez Sweat and Chase Young was the money already tied up on their defensive front. Jonathan Allen got a huge contract after an exceptional start to his career and Daron Payne was also rewarded with a hefty deal following his genuine breakout campaign in 2022.
Payne received a four-year, $90 million extension from the Commanders that also came with a $28 million signing bonus and $59 million guaranteed. Unfortunately for the player and the Commanders, he has yet to reach the heights expected this time around.
There's been something missing regarding Payne's production through eight games. He's not found life nearly as easy when it comes to generating pressure and his run-game flaws have also reared their ugly head once again on occasion.
Now that the Commanders don't have the benefit of Sweat and Young flying off the edge, Payne must start wreaking havoc on the interior because one sack and seven pressures from eight contests is simply not going to cut it.
The former first-round pick out of Alabama has every physical intangible needed to be more impactful - he proved as much during a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign that got him such a lucrative deal. With Sweat and Young gone, Payne must become Washington's long-term alpha on the defensive front.
Simple as that.