The Washington Commanders are keeping Daron Payne around, thanks to the second-biggest contract for a defensive tackle behind only seven-time All-Pro Aaron Donald.
The Commanders agreed to terms with Payne on a four-year contract worth $90 million, with $60 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract had not been announced.
Donald signed a contract last year with the Los Angeles Rams that paid him $95 million, with $65 million guaranteed.
Payne led Washington with a career-high 11 1/2 sacks last season. The Commanders put the franchise tag worth $18.9 million on him last month in the hopes of working out a long-term agreement.
The deal was first reported by ESPN.
Payne and fellow Alabama product Jonathan Allen are now each locked up on multiyear deals with Washington, which next must decide whether to exercise the fifth-year option on pass rusher Chase Young. The 2020 No. 2 pick missed a vast majority of last season recovering from a torn ACL.
But even after drafting another Crimson Tide defensive tackle, Phidarian Mathis, in the second round last year as a potential replacement, letting Payne walk was not an option. Mathis suffered a season-ending knee injury, and Payne thrived in his fifth NFL season and went to the Pro Bowl.
“Daron is an important part of what we’re doing,” general manager Martin Mayhew said at a season-ending news conference. “He’s always been disruptive. He’s always been in the back field, he’s always been around the ball. This was the first year he really was finishing the way that he finished this year, so he played outstanding football for us.”
Coach Ron Rivera, a retired linebacker, said Payne “fits the formula of what we want to do and how we want to play and (has) the skill set that you would like to have.”
“We think his presence on the football field was outstanding this season, and he did a lot of good things for us,” Rivera said.
Washington’s previous regime selected Payne 13th in the 2018 draft, and he has since made 296 tackles and recorded 26 sacks in 81 NFL games.
The day after the regular season ended, Payne said he knew he was in for a big payday during the offseason.
“It’s like all the work that I put in over the years just finally came to fruition for me,” Payne said. “It’ll be good. I got drafted in the first round, so I already got a lot of cash. It’ll be something nice for me.”
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