Washington exercises fifth-year option on DT Daron Payne

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Bijan Todd
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Washington exercises fifth-year option on DT Daron Payne originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington’s scary defensive line will be stable heading into the 2021 season and beyond, as the team has officially exercised defensive tackle Daron Payne’s fifth-year option.

Originally reported by Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post, Payne’s option will earn him about $8.5 million in 2022, fully guaranteed.

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Drafted 13th overall by Washington in 2018, Payne has been a steady and productive pass-rusher for the team since his rookie year, in what has become one of the most daunting defensive line units in the sport. In 47 games, Payne has amassed 166 total tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.

Along with line mate Jonathan Allen, Payne is a former member of Nick Saban’s Alabama team who has made a seamless transition into NFL life. He has the fourth-highest career pash rush grade by a Crimson Tide DT in history, according to Pro Football Focus.

Washington picking up Payne’s fifth-year option seemed to be a foregone conclusion, as the pass rusher has been a nightmare for offensive linemen for three full seasons now. Although his numbers might not jump off the page as much as, say, Chase Young’s do, Payne constitutes a perpetual headache for anyone trying to block him. His ability to plow through offenses has made him one of Washington’s brightest young stars.

Rounding out the defensive line, Payne will bring his energy and athleticism to the squad along with Young, Allen, Montez Sweat and hopefully a healthy Matt Ionnidis (returning from an injury which sidelined him in 2020). With Washington potentially looking to shore up the linebacker position with the 19th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the D.C. defense could become even deeper. It all starts up front.