NFL

Why the 49ers didn’t trade for Commanders DT Daron Payne

Why the 49ers didn’t trade for Commanders DT Daron Payne

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers were active at the trade deadline, moving the backup Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick after acquiring the star linebacker Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers for several mid-round picks over the next two seasons.

However, they were also in talks with the Washington Chiefs for defensive lineman Daron Payne, though no real traction for the move ever materialized.

With several blockbuster moves on trade deadline day, some were disappointed that the 49ers couldn’t pull more strings to push for the playoffs in 2022, but here’s why the trade just wasn’t feasible for on both sides.

Perspective of Washington Commanders

The Washington Chiefs had been getting calls from opposing teams about their stalwart defensive attack, and it stands to reason why they would, given the contract the team issued Jonathan Allen as well as the overwhelming young talent throughout this defensive line.

Payne, 25, is in the final year of his rookie contract and is set to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, so the Chiefs could have tried to move him for some future assets if they believed an extension was unlikely.

However, the 49ers did not have significant draft capital available, having already traded their first and second round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft in Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey trades, respectively.

As a result, if the Chiefs were looking for a second-round pick, the 49ers would have been forced to move just one 2024 pick, which isn’t as feasible as previously thought.

Chiefs general manager Martin Mayhew could be considered on the hot seat for the next two seasons given his team’s poor performance, and may not see the light of the 2024 draft. It wouldn’t necessarily make sense to acquire assets too far into the future without job security guarantees. Payne helps the team compete now, especially in light of his improved play of late, which likely made it difficult for Mayhew to feel motivated to move him without a significant return, something the 49ers couldn’t offer.

San Francisco 49ers prospect

The San Francisco 49ers would obviously welcome the talent of Daron Payne on their roster, as they have faced issues inside their defensive line due to injury, forcing them to give security level players some security.

Payne wouldn’t have been just a move for 2022, but would likely have been a long-term investment, especially considering the necessary capital required to acquire his services.

However, the 49ers are already paying the defensive lineman Arik Armstead significant money, while Nick Bosa he’s expected to negotiate a massive extension at the end of the season, leaving San Francisco potentially on the hook for three big-money contracts for a position group that’s already the team’s most expensive.

The alternative could be to move on from Armstead at the end of the season and keep Payne as the face of the interior as he enters his prime. However, Armstead’s contract would carry a cap hit of more than $21 million through the 2022 season should he be traded or released, limiting the 49ers financially as they try to bring back several key pieces in the offseason.

In short, the finances of a trade for Payne would have been extremely complicated for the 49ers, making it difficult to facilitate the trade on top of compensation issues.

Although Payne would certainly have been a great addition to the roster in 2022, especially if he was a defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw doesn’t return for the rest of the season, it’s understood from both ends why a change wasn’t made.

The opinions in this article are those of the writer and, while equally important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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