Commanders: Which Player Gets Extended Next?

July 8, 2022

Who Gets Extended Next?

Now that the Washington Commanders have extended team captain Terry McLaurin the question has to be asked, who will be next? The answer to that question won’t be all that easy to figure out, but Washington certainly has enough candidates to have a worthwhile discussion on the topic.

After getting the details worked out on McLaurin’s contract, the team now has $13,445,811 in cap space to work with according to OverTheCap.com. That would leave the organization somewhere around $8 million to potentially get another player on the roster extended right now if they don’t sign anyone else.

Daron Payne

Defensive tackle Daron Payne has been a consistent contributor to Washington’s front four since the team selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The one-two combination of Payne and Jonathan Allen is something that opposing offensive coordinators have to gameplan for weekly.

While Allen tends to get more sacks, Payne is a complete menace to the run game. In most plays, Payne’s job is to clog gaps/fill space and then react to the ball depending on who gets it. The Payne & Allen combo has been giving offensive linemen headaches for years spanning back to their time together at the University of Alabama.

Payne has recorded 14.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries during his first four seasons. The team decided to pick up his fifth-year option last off-season which will pay him $8,529,000 in 2022, but they haven’t been able to reach an agreement to get him extended since.

A new deal would likely pay Payne an average salary of $13 million or more per season, making him one of the top-paid defensive linemen in the game. Ron Rivera has continually stressed the franchise’s interest in getting Payne extended and the team has reportedly received/turned down several trade offers.

“We have a tremendous amount of interest in making sure these guys are with us going forward,” Ron Rivera said when asked about signing the fourth-year defender in a recent interview.

Cole Holcomb

The player who ‘broke out’ the most during the 2021 season had to be linebacker Cole Holcomb. Holcomb had career highs in tackles and interceptions while stepping up when the team needed someone to play middle linebacker even though he’s more of a traditional outside linebacker. The move proved to be a great one as Holcomb picked up the slack left by rookie Jamin Davis not catching up to the speed of the NFL game fast enough.

In 41 starts Holcomb has now recorded 319 tackles (14 for loss), 4.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, three interceptions, nine batted balls, and a touchdown over his first three seasons.

The Commanders love what a guy like Holcomb represents. Which is the new team culture they want in terms of roster management…a player the franchise drafted and then took the time to develop into a contributing starter. The team will be looking to get him extended as soon as possible, and depending on how well he performs, he should be getting a pretty sizable raise.

Montez Sweat

Washington announced back in April they would be picking up defensive end Montez Sweat’s fifth-year option. That option will pay the 25-year-old former first-round pick $10,892,000 for the 2023 season.

In 42 starts with Washington, Sweat has recorded 21 sacks, 119 tackles (23 for loss), forced seven fumbles, made one interception, deflected eight passes, and scored a touchdown. He’s coming off his worst statistical season after only starting 10 games in 2022.

Looking ahead at what’s in store for Washington in terms of getting Sweat extended is a market that dictates much more for edge rushers these days. As a result, the market value for Sweat could get into the $17+ million per year category. Which will make the impending decision much more difficult to make. 

No matter who the team decides to make moves to get extended, it’ll be a decision that will impact the others on the roster who are patiently waiting for new deals. 

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