5 NFL players that could be on the trade block heading into Week 4

Bears, Roquan Smith. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bears, Roquan Smith. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Commanders, Daron Payne. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

2. Daron Payne, DT, Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders haven’t been openly trying to trade Daron Payne but there’s a belief he could be someone they would listen to offers for. Payne, a former first-round pick in 2018, has 237 tackles with 16.5 sacks, 11 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, and an interception in his career.

He’s a force against the run and can also deal damage in the passing game — evidenced by his 27 quarterback pressures in 2021 alone as well as 17 the year prior. Simply put, he’s a well-rounded defensive lineman that can wreck a game plan.

So if he’s so good, why would Washington be willing to trade him? The answer is money.

Payne will hit free agency next season and after making the ill-advised trade for Carson Wentz, the Commanders don’t have very much wiggle room. They’re expected to be around $10 million under the cap next season and they might decide the depth they have on the defensive line will allow them to save some money by letting Payne walk.

If that is the way they’re thinking about going, it would make sense to move him this year and add more draft picks next season. Payne has enough talent to bring in more than one pick, and could truly be what a contending player needs to be pushed over the top.