Report: Commanders' Daron Payne Walks Off Practice Field over Contract Dispute

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 19: Washington Football Team defensive tackle Daron Payne (94) looks on during the game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 21, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Washington Commanders defensive lineman Daron Payne walked off the practice field Tuesday because of his contract situation, according to Ben Standig of The Athletic.

Payne was present at the start of OTAs, but he reportedly moved to the side field and skipped team drills despite not dealing with any physical injury. He did still reportedly take part in other team activities:

Nicki Jhabvala @NickiJhabvala

RE: Washington DT Daron Payne, I was told he did attend team meetings after practice, and did attend most of phase two, taking part in weight-room workouts and more.

The 2018 first-round draft pick is heading into the final season of his rookie contract after the team picked up his fifth-year option for 2022. Standig reported last month that the Commanders don't plan to offer him an extension and have made him available in trades.

Payne has appeared in 64 of 65 possible regular-season games in his NFL career and started all 17 games in 2021, setting a career high with 61 tackles. He added 4.5 sacks while ranking second on the team with 15 quarterback hits.

The 24-year-old played 75.6 percent of the defensive snaps last season, which led all Washington defensive linemen and ranked fifth on the team.

Despite the production, Payne could struggle to land a new deal with the Commanders because of the team's other options on the roster. Fellow defensive tackle Jonathan Allen signed a four-year, $72 million extension last offseason, while Chase Young and Montez Sweat are each scheduled to make over $10 million in 2023.

Payne has an $8.5 million salary in 2022, but there likely won't be room in the salary cap to keep him under contract beyond this season.

Washington also used its second-round draft pick this year on Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis, giving itself a potential replacement for Payne.

With Payne unhappy with his current situation, it could signal a split in the near future.