Daron Payne Receives the Franchise Tag

Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne has become the first player to receive the franchise tag in 2023 according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The franchise tag is worth $18.937 million for the season and will be fully guaranteed if Payne signs the tender. Until he signs, Payne is still free to negotiate as a free agent with other teams and he has the right to sign with another team. If he signs with another team Washington would have the ability to either match the offer sheet or receive two first round draft picks as compensation.

Payne is a former first round pick who had a career season in 2022 finishing the year with 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss while playing in nearly 90% of the snaps for Washington. Payne would have been one of the top available free agents this season but the franchise tag will probably cool off his market due to the steep compensation required to sign him.

Payne should be looking for a contract in the $20 million per year range to re-sign with the Commanders, but should be in no rush to re-sign with Washington. Payne can sit back and watch to see if the market moves forward at all with possible extensions on the horizon for Chris Jones of the Chiefs, Quinnen Williams of the Jets, Christian Wilkins of the Dolphins and Jefffery Simmons of the Titans. Javon Hargrave of the Eagles is also a free agent. Payne would have until mid-July to sign a long term contract extension.

Washington created the cap room to easily carry the franchise tag number by releasing Carson Wentz yesterday. With the tag applied to Payne we now estimate that the Commanders have $17 million in salary cap space for 2023.