The list of highest-paid edge rushers has evolved continuously over the previous few NFL offseasons. With the top of the market now reaching average annual values (AAV) of nearly $30 million a year, which players make up the top 10 highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL in 2023?
Who Is the Highest-Paid Edge Rusher in the NFL?
After signing a four-year, $112 million extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021, T.J. Watt remains the NFL’s highest-paid edge rusher. At the time, he was entering the final year of his rookie contract. Watt received just over $35 million as a signing bonus and $80 million in guarantees.
Pittsburgh doesn’t typically guarantee much base salary, but they made an exception for Watt, whose salary was fully guaranteed from 2021-23. He’ll have cap charges of around $30 million in each of the next three seasons, meaning his contract is ripe to be restructured.
Watt’s four-year contract is intriguing compared to the others just below him on this list. On one hand, it seems like Watt could have gotten a fifth or sixth year. Nevertheless, he’ll be 31 when his current deal ends and could even command a bigger number when he reaches free agency again.
Highest-Paid Edge Rushers 2-10
2) Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers | AAV: $27 million
Joey Bosa’s extension with the Chargers has been on the books for nearly three years but still remains the second-most expensive edge contract in the league. His five-year, $135 million deal contained a $35 million signing bonus and a total of $102 million in potential guarantees. The last of those guarantees came into play when his 2023 salary ($24 million) became fully guaranteed on March 20, 2022.
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The final two years of the deal will see Bosa with $22 million and $25.36 million in cash. In 2025, Bosa has an $8.36 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the league year that will force Los Angeles to make a decision on his future in advance of his age-30 campaign.
3) Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns | AAV: $25 million
Myles Garrett signed his extension with the Browns roughly two weeks before Bosa agreed to a long-term deal with the Chargers. Garrett’s deal wasn’t as impressive as Bosa’s, but he still hit the $25 million mark.
Cleveland has been able to keep Garrett’s cap charges relatively low thus far. However, in 2023 and onward, the average cap number is a touch below $30 million. In 2023 itself, that cap number jumps all the way to $29.176 million before climbing to $32.129 million in 2024.
Of Garrett’s base salary, $10 million is already guaranteed, and the rest will guarantee on March 17. He can collect $5 million roster bonuses in 2025 and 2026.
T-4) Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers | AAV: $23.5 million
It feels like a lifetime ago that Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears and signed a six-year, $141 million contract. For a while, that deal remained the benchmark for the EDGE market, but Mack has since been surpassed atop the list of highest-paid edge rushers.
Mack has since been traded again, and the Chargers are responsible for his $23.5 million annual salary. The 32-year-old is under contract for two more seasons in Los Angeles, with cap charges hovering around $27.5 million in each season.
Typically, when a player is traded, the acquiring team doesn’t have to worry about potential dead money because it only takes on the player’s salary. But the Chargers have restructured Mack’s contract, so they’d have to absorb $9 million in dead cap by releasing him this offseason.
T-4) Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders | AAV: $23.5 million
Maxx Crosby has become a star and is being paid as such with a $23.6 million average salary. The Raiders gave him a four-year, $94 million extension in March 2022 that included $26.515 million in fully guaranteed money, including his signing bonus, 2022 salary, and 2023 roster bonus.
Assuming Crosby is still on Las Vegas’ roster on March 17 (which he will be), his base salaries for 2023 ($7.505 million) and 2024 ($19.01 million) will become guaranteed. Additionally, his $10.05 million roster bonus for 2023 will also guarantee.
Crosby’s cap hit was just $6.7 million in 2022 but will jump to $20.5 million in 2023 and stay above $20 million over the next four years.
6) Bradley Chubb, Miami Dolphins | AAV: $22 million
The Dolphins sent a first-round pick to the Denver Broncos to acquire Bradley Chubb at the 2022 trade deadline, then signed him to a five-year, $110 million extension just two days later. Chubb’s pact includes more than $33 million guaranteed at signing. That total is comprised of his signing bonus and base salaries in 2022 and 2023.
Chubb’s 2024 salary ($19.75 million) will guarantee on March 16 — currently, that figure is guaranteed for injury only. None of his 2025 salary is fully guaranteed, but $10 million is guaranteed for injury.
Miami is locked into Chubb’s extension through at least the 2024 campaign. At that point, they could potentially release him, but they’d be taking on more than $16 million in dead money.
7) Von Miller, Buffalo Bills | AAV: $20 million
The Bills stepped outside their usual comfort zone in 2022 to sign Von Miller, a likely future Hall of Famer and one of the top free agents on the board that season. Buffalo gave Miller a six-year, $120 million pact with $45 million guaranteed at signing.
MORE: Top 100 NFL Free Agents 2023
Miller’s contract isn’t quite as impressive as it seems on the surface. The structure of the deal will likely keep him on the Bills’ roster through 2024, but he’ll be 35 years old at that point. If his play has declined, Buffalo could use a post-June 1 designation and essentially turn his accord into a three-year, $52.4 million contract. Miller is coming off a torn ACL, and there’s no telling how he’ll respond after the injury.
T-8) Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints | AAV: $17.5 million
Speaking of aged edge defenders, Cameron Jordan is entering his age-34 season with the Saints. He’s basically locked onto New Orleans’ roster for 2023, as the Saints would have to take on more than $23 million in dead money to release him.
Jordan doesn’t have any guarantees left on his contract, but New Orleans has restructured his deal so many times that there’s ample dead money attached. The Saints, always in need of salary cap space, haven’t reworked Jordan’s deal yet this offseason, but they still could. Jordan has an artificially low cap charge in 2024, plus void years in 2025 and 2026, so New Orleans has plenty of future years where they can shift money.
T-8) Harold Landry III, Tennessee Titans | AAV: $17.5 million
Although Harold Landy III looked like a franchise tag candidate in 2022, the Titans instead signed him to a five-year, $87.5 million extension. Landry missed the entire 2022 campaign after tearing his ACL, but he’s expected to be ready for the upcoming season.
Landry received $35.25 million at signing, including his bonus, 2022 salary ($15 million), and 2023 salary ($17.25 million). Overall, his extension is pretty straightforward. He’ll be on the Titans’ roster through 2024, at which point Tennessee could release him and make the deal a three-year, $52.5 million pact.
If Landry plays out his entire contract, he’ll only be 31 years old when he hits free agency again in 2027, so he could land another payday.
10) Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers | AAV: $17 million
Arik Armstead has just two years remaining on the five-year, $85 million extension he signed with the 49ers in 2020. While he doesn’t have any guarantees remaining, Armstead would cost San Francisco more than $21 million in dead cap to release this offseason. Next year, that figure will drop to $14 million.
The 49ers have used restructures and void years to move some of Armstead’s money into future seasons. He’s currently scheduled to earn base salaries of $15.89 million and $17.41 million over the next two years.
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