Commanders Sign Second-Round DT Johnny Newton

The Commanders, perhaps against the previous regime’s wishes, retooled at defensive end at last year’s trade deadline. But the team kept its veteran defensive tackles and continues to devote early-round picks to this position. Another piece joined the team in this year’s second round.

Washington hoarded Day 2 draft capital via trades, but its first second-round choice — Illinois DT Johnny Newton — came with the team’s own draft slot (No. 36 overall). The Commanders now have Newton signed to a four-year rookie deal, with KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson indicating the contract comes 86% guaranteed.

Newton’s first three years are fully guaranteed; the 2023 All-American will see $800K of his Year 4 base salary ($2.13MM) guaranteed as well, Wilson adds. Last year’s No. 36 overall pick, Rams O-lineman Steve Avila, received a $201K guarantee of his Year 4 base salary. As Newton has some security, he is currently going through a second round of foot rehab this year.

After undergoing a procedure to repair an injury to his right foot in January, the Commanders defensive tackle needed another foot procedure — the second one on his left foot. Newton sustained a fracture at an unknown point of Washington’s offseason program and underwent surgery in early May. The team is optimistic about Newton returning by Week 1, but it is safe to say a stay on the active/PUP list to begin training camp will take place.

Newton sustained a partial foot fracture that led to the January procedure; this operation caused a weekslong delay in Newton’s pre-draft preparation. He did not participate in Combine workouts but did recover in time to hold a belated pro day in mid-April. He played through the previous foot issue during part of last season to cement a first-team All-American showing, which included 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Newton totaled 14.5 TFLs for the Fighting Illini in 2022. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated Newton as this year’s No. 21 overall prospect; the foot trouble helped knock him out of the first round.

The Commanders still roster Jonathan Allen, despite intermittent trade rumors, and gave Daron Payne an extension last year. The Ron Rivera regime also used a 2022 second-round pick on another Alabama DT (Phidarian Mathis), but he has not yet found his footing. Mathis will now compete with Newton for playing time, as the latter comes in attached to the Adam Peters-Dan Quinn partnership.

View Comments (0)