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Report: Commanders Sign Daron Payne to New Four-Year Deal

The Washington Commanders are keeping a big piece of their highly-touted defensive line around for the foreseeable future.

The Commanders signed defensive tackle Daron Payne to a four-year, $90 million contract with $60 million guaranteed, ESPN reported on Sunday. The deal makes Payne the second-highest-paid defensive tackle in NFL history behind Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

The Commanders used the franchise tag on Payne earlier this offseason, which would've paid him $18.937 million in 2023. Instead, the two sides worked out a deal, keeping Payne with the Commanders for the long haul.

The former first-round pick had by far his best season in 2022. He finished with career highs in sacks (11.5), tackles for loss (18) and quarterback hits (20), which led to Payne's first Pro Bowl appearance.

Although Payne had a strong 2022 season, the Commanders didn't meet expectations. Washington finished 8-8-1, which was good enough for last place in the competitive NFC East. Still, the Commanders' defense allowed the third-fewest yards per game (304.6) in the NFL last season.

By bringing back Payne, the Commanders are likely hoping they can recreate their defensive success from 2022 while improving the offense. Washington hired Eric Bienemy as its new offensive coordinator from the Kansas City Chiefs, and reports have surfaced that 2021 fifth-round pick Sam Howell could start at quarterback this season.

Payne's contract could serve as the framework for the upcoming extensions of fellow defensive tackles Jeffery Simmons, Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence, ESPN reported.

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