Daron Payne could be prime midseason trade target for Chiefs
By Matt Conner
The NFL’s trade deadline might seem like it’s a long way away from now given that the preseason hasn’t even started yet, but when a team like the Kansas City Chiefs consider how it might improve the roster, it’s important to keep all options within view. That’s why the Chiefs might be bookmarking the idea of a deal for Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne, if only to come back to it a few months from now.
At the present moment, Payne is a young defensive force coming into his prime and his final season before hitting free agency. He was originally drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at No. 13 overall, and he’s grown into a strong well-rounded force who can disrupt from the interior for the Commanders’ defensive front.
Currently in his fifth year with the deal after the Commanders exercised the option, Payne is reportedly unhappy with the state of things, financially speaking. While he’s hoping for a long-term contract extension, it’s not exactly clear that Washington has the same idea—which reportedly led Payne to leave the field during OTAs.
Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne could be an intriguing trade target for the Kansas City Chiefs at midseason.
It’s important to note that Washington has already extended his teammate Jonathan Allen along the defensive interior, and second-round pick Phidarian Mathis is waiting in the wings. Montez Sweat is also in a contract year and will earn extension consideration and Chase Young is eligible for an extension this coming year as well. After locking up Terry McLaurin at wide receiver, how much more are the Commanders going to want to throw at defensive tackle?
Here’s the truth: the Commanders will only go as far as Carson Wentz can carry them, which should be just enough for them to become sellers at the deadline—unless the NFC East falls apart once again. And that could mean that a frustrated player wanting a bigger paycheck could find himself traded by November.
For the Chiefs, Payne would be an instant upgrade over anyone across the entire defensive line not named Chris Jones. As a durable player, Payne played in 17 games last season for the Commanders and racked up 15 quarterback hits, a career-high 27 pressures, and 4.5 sacks. He also played 76 percent of all defensive snaps after playing in 84 percent the year before. In short, he’s productive all around and doesn’t come off the field.
If the Chiefs can’t find the boost in pressure along the edges, Payne together with Jones would be an elite tandem that would wreak havoc in the postseason on tired interiors playing deep into January.