Daron Payne should be a free-agent target of Arizona Cardinals
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals defensive line would improve dramatically if the front office can sign Daron Payne to a free agent contract.
While the search for a new head coach continues for the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL’s free-agent signing period is a little over one month away. Whoever takes over for the departed Kliff Kingsbury will have very little time to put together a list of players who could make the Cards a better squad in 2023.
One individual who should definitely be targeted by Arizona is Daron Payne, a fifth-year defensive tackle from the Washington Commanders. There were those who wanted the club to take a run at the talented defender last October, but nothing ever materialized. Payne was the subject of various trade talks around the league, but Washington ended up hanging onto the highly-coveted veteran.
It’s now four months later, and Payne’s contract with the Commanders is about to expire. That means that the Cardinals, and the rest of the NFL, could take a run at the 25-year-old when free agency gets underway in March. Could new general manager Monti Ossenfort look to make a splash with the organization by adding the highly-coveted Payne to the roster?
Daron Payne would be a sensational addition to the Arizona Cardinals defense
Payne was absolutely outstanding this past season in his 17 starts for Washington. The 6 foot 3, 320 pounder totaled 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits and five passes defensed, which were all career-highs. That’s the type of production that the Cards defense could surely use, especially in the middle of the unit’s front line.
Last season, Arizona elected to roll with Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu at the nose tackle position in defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s 3-4 scheme. That experiment needs to be over, and Payne would be a fantastic replacement for the pair.
If the Cardinals end up hiring Lou Anarumo, the franchise’s new head coach would be bringing a 4-3 alignment to the desert. That would be ideal for Payne, who has starred in such a system under Commanders coordinator Jack Del Rio in the nation’s capital.
The Cards would take a huge step in the right direction if they acquired a stud like Payne. What a great way for Ossenfort to start what will hopefully be a long and successful stint as Arizona’s GM.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)
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