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Friday, June 21, 2024

The Highest-Paid NFL Defensive Tackles

Chris Jones leads the way
Feb 6, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) during a press conference before Super Bowl LVIII at Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL offenses get all the glory and drive battles between networks for media rights, while star quarterbacks and offensive skill position players become magnets for lucrative endorsement deals.

On the other side of the ball, someone has to slow them down.

The highest-paid NFL defensive tackles earn wages that prove their value to their teams. Chris Jones takes the crown with his salary of $31.75 million.

The two-time All-Pro with the Chiefs signed his massive extension in March. He became the only defensive tackle to make $30 million a year.

Aaron Donald was the only other player earning $30 million, but recently announced his retirement. Jones is a three-time Super Bowl winner and his 74.5 career sacks are second on the list to Cameron Heyward.

Second is Christian Wilkins of the Raiders. The 29-year-old is set to earn $27.5 million in 2024-25. Like Jones, Wilkins signed his new deal in March of 2024 to net him $110 million over four years.

Justin Madubuike of the Ravens comes in third with his $24.5 million contract. 

Madubuike had a breakout year last season, recording a career-high 13 sacks. He led all interior linemen in sacks and was a key part of Baltimore’s number-one scoring defense. 

Rounding out the top five are two players tied earning $24 million a year: Derrick Brown of the Panthers and Quinnen Williams of the Jets.

Brown made his first Pro Bowl this past season after his most productive season as a pro. Williams made his second-straight Pro Bowl and has 33 career sacks.

2024 has been the year of the defensive tackle. Four of the top five highest-paid defensive tackles signed new contracts in the spring, resetting the market for the position.

Javon Hargrave and Christian Barmore, tied at eleventh, are the last players making over $20 million a year.

Ranking the Highest-Paid Defensive Tackles in the NFL

Here is the entire list of the top 25 highest-paid NFL defensive tackles. The list was compiled with data from Over the Cap.

  • Updated: June 1, 2024
RankPlayerCareer SacksTeamTotal Compensation
1Chris Jones74.5Kansas City Chiefs$31.75 million
2Christian Wilkins20.5Las Vegas Raiders$27.5 million
3Justin Madubuike21.5Baltimore Ravens$24.5 million
T-4Derrick Brown8Carolina Panthers$24 million
T-4Quinnen Williams33New York Jets$24 million
6Jeffery Simmons26.5Tennessee Titans$23.5 million
7DeForest Buckner61Indianapolis Colts$23 million
T-8Dexter Lawrence21New York Giants$22.5 million
T-8Daron Payne30Washington Commanders$22.5 million
10Leonard Williams43.5Seattle Seahawks$21.5 million
T-11Christian Barmore12.5New England Patriots$21 million
T-11Javon Hargrave44.5San Francisco 49ers$21 million
13Jonathan Allen39Washington Commanders$18 million
T-14Vita Vea23.5Tampa Bay Buccaneers$17.75 million
T-14Kenny Clark34Gren Bay Packers$17.5 million
16Dre’Mont Jones26.5Seattle Seahawks$17.17 million
17Ed Oliver24Buffalo Bills$17 million
18Grady Jarrett33Atlanta Falcons$16.5 million
19Cameron Heyward80.5Pittsburgh Steelers$16.4 million
20Zach Allen11.5Denver Broncos$15.25 million
21Arik Armstead33.5Jacksonville Jaguars$14.5 million
22Dalvin Tomlinson16Cleveland Browns$14.25 million
23Grover Stewart8.5Indianapolis Colts$13 million
24Sheldon Rankins29.5Cincinnati Bengals$12.25 million
25David Onyemata27Atlanta Falcons$11.66 million

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