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The 25 Highest-Paid NFL Linebackers

  • Allen's new deal with the Jaguars makes him the highest-paid linebacker.
  • The Ravens’ Roquan Smith is the highest-paid inside linebacker.
T.J. Watt
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The outside linebacker gets all of the attention because they can wreak havoc with quarterbacks with sacks.

Jacksonville Jaguars star Josh Allen paves the way as the highest-paid NFL linebacker making $28.25 million annually. After being traded to the Giants at the start of free agency, Brian Burns secured the second position by inking a five-year, $141 million contract. This deal puts him on pace to earn over $28.2 million annually.

Following Burns is Steelers star T.J. Watt (above) who since 2019, has led the league in sacks with 76.5. He signed a four-year, $112.011 million extension with the franchise in 2021 and made more than $28 million annually.

While outside linebackers dominate a majority of the 25 highest-paid linebackers, there are some who believe inside linebackers deserve to be paid more. Last year, former Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick declared that the inside linebacker position needs to get the respect and pay they deserve.

“Inside linebacker is like the quarterback of the defense, so to see them finally getting paid in a respective way lets me know that the game is progressing into the right direction,” Reddick said on Front Office Sports Today last September. The Ravens’ Roquan Smith is the league’s highest-paid inside linebacker but ranks No. 9, making $20 million.

Sharing the fourth position in linebacker compensation is the Bears’ Montez Sweat and Texans’ Danielle Hunter at $24.5 million a piece. Sweat signed a four-year, $98 million extension with the franchise in 2023. Hunter recently signed signed a two-year extension with worth $49 million to move from the Vikings to the Texans.

Top 25 Paid Linebackers 

Here is the full list of the top 25 highest-paid NFL linebackers by average annual value. The list was compiled using data from Spotrac.

  • Updated: April 18, 2024
  • Will be updated again: April 24, 2024
RankPlayerTeamCompensation
1Josh AllenJacksonville Jaguars$28.25 million
2Brian BurnsNew York Giants$28.2 million
3T.J. WattPittsburgh Steelers$28 million
T-4Montez SweatChicago Bears$24.5 million
T-4Danielle HunterHouston Texans$24.5 million
6Rashan GaryGreen Bay Packers$24 million
7Bradley ChubbMiami Dolphins$22 million
8Joey BosaLos Angeles Chargers$20.18 million
T-9Von MillerBuffalo Bills$20 million
T-9Roquan SmithBaltimore Ravens$20 million
11Khalil MackLos Angeles Chargers$19.2 million
12Fred WarnerSan Francisco 49ers$19.05 million
13Tremaine EdmundsChicago Bears$18 million
14Harold LandryTennessee Titans$17.5 million
15Bryce HuffPhiladelphia Eagles$17.03 million
16Alex HighsmithPittsburgh Steelers$17 million
T-17Haason ReddickNew York Jets$15 million
T-17Uchenna NwosuSeattle Seahawks$15 million
19Matt MilanoBuffalo Bills$14.17 million
20Patrick QueenPittsburgh Steelers$13.67
21Matt JudonNew England Patriots$13.63 million
22Preston SmithGreen Bay Packers$13 million
23Za’Darius SmithCleveland Browns$11.5 million
24Azeez Al-ShaairHouston Texans$11.33 million
25Zaire FranklinIndianapolis Colts$10.42 million
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