Daron Payne is staying in Washington.
Payne, who tied a franchise record in sacks for a defensive tackle in 2022, has officially signed a multiyear contract extension with the Commanders, keeping the team's interior defensive line intact for years to come.
Payne was the Commanders' first-round pick back in 2018, and since then he has made steady progress while being one of the team's best defensive linemen. Payne has been reliable and consistent over the course of his career with 75 starts in 81 games. He has been inactive for only one game in five seasons.
Payne was one of the first players to get the franchise tag placed on them prior to the start of free agency, but one of the team's priorities this offseason was to retain him. Almost two weeks later, it was reported that the Commanders and Payne had agreed to terms on a new deal.
"We think his presence on the football field was outstanding this season, and he did a lot of good things for us," head coach Ron Rivera said during his and general manager Martin Mayhew’s end of year press conference.
Payne's production has been equally consistent. He has recorded at least 54 tackles in each season, and prior to the 2022 season, he had a combined 14.5 sacks in the previous four seasons. But thanks to being more comfortable in the defensive system, Payne had a breakout season as a pass-rusher with 11.5 sacks, which tied Dave Butz for the most by an interior defensive lineman in franchise history and the third most among all defensive tackles in 2022.
Payne had a career-high 20 quarterback hits, 27 quarterback hurries and 49 total pressures. He also got a career high five pass deflections, and because of that impact, he was voted to his first Pro Bowl selection.
"I think Daron is hitting his own stride, and he's really elevated his game to a high level and has really been able to help me play better," said fellow defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. "Seeing him dominate week in and week out all year is really making me raise my game to his level."
Payne and Allen contributed to a defensive front that finished 12th with 43 sacks. Rivera called the two "a heck of a tandem."
"I think Daron is playing really good football," Rivera said. "One of the things I talked about, I remember on my first day...was about having that kind of tandem. Guys like that are space eaters, guys like that have an impact on the game. That's what you look for. That's what you want out there."