Commanders DT Daron Payne looking to take off
Daron Payne avoided any unnecessary nervousness heading into the 2023 off-season thanks to an exceptional breakout campaign in 2022. The formidable defensive tackle took the Washington Commanders not picking up his fifth-year option as the biggest source of motivation imaginable, gaining 11.5 sacks to lead the team and secure his debut Pro Bowl selection as a result of his efforts.
The Commanders were true to their reward and rewarded Payne with a new four-year, $90 million contract with $59 million guaranteed. While this could lead to a level of complacency, the former first-round selection out of Alabama is keen to keep pushing forward based on his comments via Sports Illustrated with an added sense of financial security and clarity that was richly deserved.
"I was able to make a whole lot more plays, and it really made the game way more fun. I’m going to try to do that same thing and then try to take it up a notch and get some more sacks and make some more disruptive plays. It just feels good not to have to worry about the confusion. I just get to go out here and play football. I get to invest a lot into myself…I'm about to start doing a lot of stuff for kids in my hometown in Birmingham Alabama."- Daron Payne via Sports Illustrated
Payne and Jonathan Allen could be the NFL's best interior defensive line tandem with another offseason to hone chemistry in 2023. With pass-rusher Chase Young also returning from injury, the Commanders will be relying heavily on their front four to create the havoc needed to dominate next season.