The Chicago Bears had a giant hole across the defensive front last year and many Bears fans, myself included, hoped that Daron Payne might be someone that found his way to Chicago this offseason.
Payne is coming off a career year for the Washington Commanders where he tallied 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks out of the 1-tech DT position which is largely unheard of. He was set to make big bucks this offseason, and fortunately, the Bears had money to spend.
While there’s been plenty of debate as to how Washington would handle the Payne situation, due to money they needed to spend across their defensive line, it appears as if there may finally be an answer, and it’s one that Bears’ fans were hoping wouldn’t be the case.
The franchise-tag window opened today, before it closes, it's 99.9-percent likely that the Commanders tag DT Daron Payne. https://t.co/iPx1b3YN5L— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 22, 2023
Mike Florio says it’s a “99.9%” likelihood that Washington puts the franchise tag on Payne. So if the Bears are looking to add Payne to the roster, it won’t be until the 2024 season at the earliest.
If the Bears look to beef up the defensive line in free agency, the next two best names are 30-year-old Javon Hargrave from the Philadelphia Eagles and 26-year-old Dre’Mont Jones from the Denver Broncos.