Commanders to place franchise tag on Pro Bowl DT Daron Payne for 2023 season

The Washington Commanders will place their franchise tag on defensive tackle Daron Payne, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday morning, per sources. ESPN first reported the news.

Payne’s franchise tag is the first one used by an NFL team this offseason.

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With Payne being a defensive tackle, his franchise tag will be $18.937 million for the 2023 season, per Over the Cap. Washington has until July 15 to try to reach a long-term deal with Payne.

Last season, Payne earned his first Pro Bowl selection in his fifth season in the NFL. The defensive tackle had his best season in the league recording 11.5 sacks, 20 QB hits and 18 tackles for loss.

Payne has been one of the most reliable defensive tackles in the NFL. He has started in all 50 games in the last three seasons for the Commanders.

The 25-year-old was selected 13th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by Washington out of Alabama.

Payne was ranked No. 11 in Gregg Rosenthal’s Top 101 NFL free agents of 2023.

With Chase Young out for most of the 2022 season, Payne helped lead Washington’s third-ranked team defense and the fourth-best passing defense. Even though the Commanders were the only team out of the NFC East to miss the playoffs, Washington finished the season 8-8-1.

On Monday, the Commanders released veteran QB Carson Wentz and slot cornerback/safety Bobby McCain. The decision to move on from Wentz saved the Commanders $26.2 million in cap space.

Washington’s free agents to-be this offseason include QB Taylor Heinicke and 11 others.

Head coach Ron Rivera is expected to talk to the media at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. General manager Martin Mayhew will speak to the media on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

It’s been a busy offseason for Washington as it has hired a new offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator will also carry an assistant head coach title on Rivera’s staff.

NFL Network will have more than 50 hours of live coverage from Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, beginning Thursday, March 2.

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