The Chicago Bears may need to edit their free-agent wish list. Washington Commanders defensive lineman Daron Payne ranks at or near the top of the team’s must-haves, but according to a new report from The Athletic, Payne won’t hit the open market.
The Commanders are expected to place the franchise tag on him.
Payne was selected to the Pro Bowl after totaling 11.5 sacks and 64 tackles in 2022. At 25 years old, Payne is a perfect fit for the Bears’ three-technique, a role on the defensive line coach Matt Eberflus has defined as the engine for his defense.
If Payne is franchised, the Chicago Bears will turn their attention to players like Javon Hargrave (Eagles) and Dre’Mont Jones (Broncos).
The Commanders have until March 7 to place the franchise tag on Daron Payne. If tagged, he’ll earn a guaranteed $18.937 million if he does not reach a long-term deal.