There’s no question Patrick Payton would have been a big part of the defensive line in 2024. He has improved each year and would have improved his NFL Draft stock with another year to develop.
Take Jared Verse, who could have left after the 2022 season, but opted to return for 2023 and is almost assuredly a top 15-20 NFL Draft pick. However, Verse didn’t return to FSU for free, and the Battle’s End Collective played a huge part in that happening.
I won’t talk specifics, but you can read between the lines. Payton is no Jared Verse, and much of the success Payton enjoyed this season was due to Verse’s presence and teams giving him extra attention.
What would his production be next year if he faced the same attention Verse received this year? It’s doubtful he’d have the same impact as Verse.
The Battle’s End has to calculate what the value of a player is, and what’s likely available in the transfer portal. If Payton were as good as Verse, he would be declaring for the NFL Draft instead of entering the portal.
Is it possible FSU can find a defensive end in the portal that would likely make similar contributions as Payton for less money? It’s probable.