Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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

Rohan Chakravarthi
Nov 2, 2022 at 4:45 PM--

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

However, they were also in conversations with the Washington Commanders for defensive lineman Daron Payne, although any real traction for the move never materialized.

With several blockbuster moves occurring on trade deadline day, some were disappointed by the fact that the 49ers couldn't pull more strings to make a push toward the playoffs in 2022, but here's why the trade simply wasn't feasible for both sides.

Washington Commanders perspective

The Washington Commanders had been fielding calls from opposing teams about their stalwart defensive tackle, and it's sensible why they'd do so, given the contract the team issued to Jonathan Allen, as well as the overwhelming young talent along that defensive line.

Payne, 25, is on the last year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, so the Commanders could've looked to move him for some future assets if they felt an extension was improbable.

However, the 49ers didn't have significant draft capital available, as they'd already traded away both their first and second-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft in the Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey trades, respectively.

As a result, if the Commanders were seeking a second-round pick, the 49ers would've been forced to move only a 2024 selection, which isn't as feasible as believed.

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

San Francisco 49ers perspective

The San Francisco 49ers obviously would have welcomed the talent of Daron Payne to their roster, as they've faced issues along the interior of their defensive line due to injury, forcing them to give zig i any snaps to backup-level players.

Payne wouldn't have been just a move for 2022, but likely would've been a long-term investment, especially given the necessary capital required to obtain his services.

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

The alternative could be moving on from Armstead at the end of the season and keeping Payne as the face of the interior as he enters his prime. However, Armstead's contract would trigger a dead cap hit of over $21 million for the 2022 season should he be traded or released, limiting the 49ers financially as they try and bring back several key cogs in the offseason.

To sum up, the financials of a trade for Payne would've been extremely tricky for the 49ers, making it tougher to facilitate the trade on top of the compensation issues.

While Payne would've undoubtedly been a huge addition for the roster in 2022, especially if defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw does not return for the remainder of the season, it's understandable from both ends why a trade wasn't made.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • russell bjorklund
    With the departure of DJ Jones and injuries to Kinlaw and Armsted the 49ers are vulnerable to the run. Unless Armsted comes back close to 100% the 49er defense will not duplicate its early season success. If the offense continues to improve it will help but the defense can't effectively play the wide nine without premier tackle play
    Nov 4, 2022 at 1:22 PM
  • BigAl
    Yea as much as people act like these run stuffing DTs are dinosaurs, theres no getting around the fact that stopping the run has got to be priority #1 for any good defense. It seems especially true for our particular defense, which is built to get after the QB. The injury to Armstead and the fact our offense hasnt been jumping out to 2 and 3 score leads, we've struggled making offenses one dimensional. Too often our punter is pinning teams back, which in theory is another way to make them one dimensional, just to watch the D give up easy first downs on the ground or thru the air. I wouldve been all in on Payne as he can clearly get to the QB as well.
    Nov 3, 2022 at 11:13 AM


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