Commanders place franchise tag on Daron Payne for 2023 season

Daron Payne

Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne is the first NFL player to receive the franchise tag in 2023, the team announced on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Pro Bowler is projected to earn $18.937 million under the tag for the 2023 NFL season.

The Commanders had until March 7 to use the tag before Payne would've become an unrestricted free agent.

Washington cleared significant cap space on Tuesday following the release of QB Carson Wentz who started seven games in 2022 for the Commanders.

NFL franchise tag candidates for all 32 teams

Ahead of the July 17 tag deadline, the Commanders can still sign Payne to a long-term deal. Once that day passes, the team will have to wait until the end of next season to re-negotiate the defensive tackle's contract.

Entering his sixth NFL season with Washington, Payne has played in 81 games, recording 162 tackles and 26 sacks.

Before getting drafted in 2018, Payne was part of the Alabama team that won the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. He was named the championship game's Defensive MVP.