The 10 Highest-Paid Edge Rushers in the NFL, Ranked by AAV


  • Nick Bosa is easily the highest-paid edge rusher in the NFL, earning $34 million per year with the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Josh Allen secured a hefty contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars following a strong 2023 season.
  • Brian Burns earned a massive extension upon being traded from the Carolina Panthers to the New York Giants.



In today’s NFL, nearly every defensive scheme is centered around getting to the quarterback. It’s a universal principle that quarterbacks are better from clean pockets than they are under duress, and it’s the defense’s job to get them out of their comfort zone.

The position that is primarily responsible for this is the edge rusher.

As the position gets a little tricky, this label encompasses both defensive ends and outside linebackers, making for a diverse and unique collection of talent. The value of a high-end edge can be seen in their earnings, and it’s with that in mind that we look at the 10 highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL in terms of the average annual value (AAV) of their latest contracts.


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1 Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers: $34 million AAV

Bosa secured his big-time extension last offseason

49ers star Nick Bosa after a sack in the Super Bowl
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off his 2022 Defensive Player of the Year award, San Francisco 49ers superstar Nick Bosa became the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, signing a five-year extension worth $170 million.

While Bosa’s AAV has recently been passed by Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson, he remains the highest-earning edge in terms of total contract and AAV. In addition to the $34 million average, Bosa’s contract featured a $50 million signing bonus and $122.5 million in guarantees.

2 Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars: $28.25 million AAV

Allen’s contract-year breakout earned him a lot of money

Josh Allen Jacksonville Jaguars
Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Earning a big payday is often about timing, and Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars is a prime example of this. His production skyrocketed from seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2022 to 17.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 2023.

With Allen’s value at an all-time high, Jacksonville had no choice but to pay up to keep its star edge. Allen signed a five-year, $141.25 million deal in April, putting him over every edge in the earnings department outside of Bosa.

3 Brian Burns, New York Giants: $28.25 million AAV

After contract talks stalled out with Carolina, Burns quickly reached a deal with the Giants

Brian Burns
Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The recently traded Brian Burns, who spent the first five years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, signed a near-immediate extension upon his arrival to the New York Giants. The deal spans five years and is worth $141 million, including $87.5 million in guarantees and a potential out after the 2026 season.

Many have theorized that Burns would produce at a higher level in a better situation. He’ll now have a chance to prove this idea and that he was worth this new contract in the coming years.

4 T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers: $28.003 million AAV

Watt’s consistent productivity earned him lots of guaranteed money

T.J. Watt Pittsburgh Steelers LB
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers superstar and five-time All-Pro T.J. Watt is approaching the end of his second NFL contract, this being the four-year deal worth just over $112 million that he signed in 2021.

With $80 million in guarantees, the Steelers were clearly confident in Watt’s ability to continue performing at a high level, and that confidence has been warranted, as Watt led the league in sacks for the third time in his career in 2023 with 19.

5 Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns: $25 million AAV

Garrett’s 2020 extension is still in the top five

Myles Garrett with the Cleveland Browns
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In the heat of a global pandemic in July 2020, the Cleveland Browns and Myles Garrett came to terms on a five-year, $125 million deal with a $21 million signing bonus and around $100 million in guaranteed money.

At the time, Garrett was the highest-paid defensive player in the league, but the rising salary cap has caused his ranking to fall. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is under contract through the 2026 season and won’t be a free agent until he’s 31 years old.

6 Danielle Hunter, Houston Texans: $24.5 million AAV

Hunter’s 2023 season made him a highly sought-after free agent

Danielle Hunter DE Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Danielle Hunter finally got over the injury bug that cost him all but seven games in 2020 and 2021, playing all 17 games in 2022 and 2023 with the Minnesota Vikings.

This newfound durability, which allowed him to record 27 sacks over the last two years, made him one of the premier edge rushers in this year’s free agency class, and he ultimately signed with the Houston Texans for two years and $49 million.

Of the $49 million, a whopping $48 million is guaranteed, showing both the Texans’ trust in Hunter and their cap flexibility for the next two seasons.

7 Montez Sweat, Chicago Bears: $24.5 million AAV

Sweat was a game-changer on Chicago’s defense last season

Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat following a game
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

One of the turning points for the Chicago Bears defense last season was the trade with the Washington Commanders for Montez Sweat and then signing him to a four-year contract extension for $98 million with $41.96 million fully guaranteed.

While this was considered a bit of an overpay at the time, Sweat went on to have the best season of his career from a productivity standpoint, recording 12.5 sacks, four passes defended, and three forced fumbles.

8 Rashan Gary, Green Bay Packers: $24 million

Gary has shown occasional glimpses of greatness but has been slowed by injury

Rashan Gary

Green Bay Packers edge Rashan Gary takes the eighth spot on this list thanks to the four-year, $96 million extension he signed in October 2023.

The contract has a lot of incentives, as Gary’s only guaranteed money from the deal comes from his $34.65 million signing bonus. He returned from a torn ACL last season and recorded nine sacks, the second-highest total of his career.

9 Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders: $23.5 million

Crosby is one of the most complete defensive players in the game today

Maxx Crosby Las Vegas Raiders DE
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Maxx Crosby and the Las Vegas Raiders came to terms on a four-year, $94 million extension in the 2022 offseason.

In the years since, Crosby has staked his claim as the best run-stuffing edge in the NFL, leading the league in tackles for loss in both the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The terms of the deal will allow Crosby to become a free agent in 2027, when he will be 29 years old.

10 Bradley Chubb, Miami Dolphins: $22 million

Chubb’s return will be crucial for Miami’s defense

Miami Dolphins OLB Bradley Chubb sacking Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

While it would be unfair to pin the Miami Dolphins’ late-season collapse in 2023 on one event, Bradley Chubb’s Week 17 ACL tear against the Baltimore Ravens certainly played a part.

Chubb, who signed a five-year, $110-million extension with Miami not long after he was traded to the team in 2022, had 11 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, and a league-high six forced fumbles in 16 games before his injury.

His status for the 2024 season remains unknown. The Dolphins gave up a first-round pick when they traded for Chubb back in 2022, meaning he is likely there for the long haul. However, if he fails to make a full recovery, the Dolphins have a potential out after this season that would result in over $27 million in dead cap.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and all contract information courtesy of Spotrac unless stated otherwise.


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