Reports surfaced late on Tuesday that Commanders defensive tackle, Daron Payne, had left the practice field at OTAs, apparently because he does not have a contract extension in place with the team.
Ben Standig of the Athletic reported:
[Payne] joined his teammates at the rainy practice field and took part in the individual drills. However, the 2018 first round pick walked off the practice field and skipped team drills because he was angry about the lack of a contract extension entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, according to a source.
While Standig’s report indicates that Payne might’ve stormed off in a huff, other later reports have offered a picture of the defensive lineman as a calm professional who is taking care of business.
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.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) May 24, 2022
Checked in with sources on Daron Payne - while he might not be happy about his contract situation, he still did team weight lifting and attended meetings after practice today. Whatever’s going on, he’s handling it like a pro.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) May 24, 2022
No doubt, local reporters will dig into the situation on Wednesday, and Ron Rivera can probably look forward to a lot of questions about what exactly is going on with Payne and his contract, which is likely exactly what Daron Payne and his agent want.
It has been widely reported that wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, is skipping OTAs, and earlier had skipped the on-field portion of minicamp, while he waits for a new contract. Fans seem to be very accepting or supportive of McLaurin’s situation. Payne, who is currently under contract on his 5th-year option, has been the subject of reports that suggest the team does not plan to offer him an extension and that they quietly offered him in trade earlier in the offseason.
Unlike the general attitude of fans toward McLaurin’s situation, where the prevailing attitude seems to be to “pay da man”, there seems to be a general acceptance that Daron Payne would be traded or allowed to play out his contract and leave in free agency at the end of the season. Apparently, that’s not what Daron Payne wants to do, and he is using the venue of voluntary OTAs to make his feelings known.