Latest On Commanders, Daron Payne

Ron Rivera said in February the Commanders viewed Terry McLaurin and Daron Payne as extension targets. Neither deal has come to pass. McLaurin has not attended a Washington workout since the draft, and Payne does not appear content to participate fully.

Payne left Washington’s OTA workout midway through the Tuesday session, according to The Athletic’s Ben Standig (subscription required), who adds the exit is due to frustration about his contract. The fifth-year defensive tackle is not believed to be injured, Standig notes. Payne returned to for team meetings after practice, according to the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala (via Twitter). The Commanders began their OTAs on Monday.

The four-year Washington starter attended most of the team’s phase two workouts earlier this year, per Jhabvala, but this still qualifies as a situation worth monitoring. Payne, 25 on Friday, is entering his fifth-year option season. He is tied to an $8.5MM salary. Although the Alabama alum is in his prime and has not dealt with a significant injury as a pro, Standig adds the Commanders have let other teams know he could be had in a trade.

Washington has invested considerable draft capital in its defensive line, and although a few players from recent groups are no longer in the equation (Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ioaniddis, Tim Settle), the team still has four former first-round picks up front. Payne joins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and D-ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat among that contingent. The Commanders also drafted D-tackle Phidarian Mathis in the second round last month.

Extensions are not yet an issue for Young and Sweat, but the Commanders have Allen tied to a lucrative D-tackle deal. Young will be on the team’s extension radar when the time comes, and Sweat is now eligible for a new deal. The Commanders picked up his fifth-year option earlier this month. Washington extended Allen last summer, just before his fifth-year option season. It is becoming less clear if Payne, whose fifth-year option Washington exercised in May 2021, remains on the team’s extension docket ahead of his contract year. Although Rivera expressed interest in a Payne re-up, Standig notes the team is not expected to make an offer.

Since being the No. 13 overall pick in 2018, Payne has started 58 games for Washington — including 17 last season. Payne graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 overall interior defensive lineman last season and finished the 2021 campaign with career-high numbers in tackles (61) and QB hits (15), going along with his 4.5 sacks.

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