The landscape of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL has changed dramatically in recent years. Who is the highest-paid CB in the NFL, and which other cornerbacks round out the top 10 at the position?
The highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL
T-10) J.C. Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers | AAV: $16.5 million
Heading into the 2022 legal tampering period, the expectation was that Jackson would command a contract near the top of this list. However, that wasn’t the case, and he misses out on the top five altogether at $16.5 million per year. Nevertheless, he does reportedly get $40 million guaranteed as part of the deal.
T-10) Byron Jones, Miami Dolphins | AAV: $16.5 million
Miami has two players in the top 10 of the highest-paid cornerbacks list. The team from South Florida has certainly prioritized the position in recent seasons and it shows with these two deals. Byron Jones’ $16.48 million cap number will see the Dolphins with close to $30 million invested in their two starting outside CBs.
Next offseason would offer Miami a chance to move on if they so desired. Jones’ contract contained a relatively small $10.5 million signing bonus that prorates at $2.1 million per year. That would leave the Dolphins with $4.2 million in dead cap, assuming they don’t restructure the deal this season.
8) Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles | AAV: $16.7 million
It will be fascinating to see how the Eagles handle the sixth-highest paid cornerback in the NFL this offseason. After relatively modest cap numbers of a combined $10 million in the past two years, there is a big jump in 2022 and 2023. Over the next two years, Darius Slay will count over $45 million against the Eagles’ cap.
That kicks off this year with a $22.04 million cap number, thanks to a $16 million base salary. That is the third-highest number among the CB position in 2022 and something the Eagles will have to consider. Philadelphia could save $6.5 million by moving on, or they could look to restructure. However, they already have $4.57 million in dead money when the contract voids in 2024. They may not want to add much more to that.
7) Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills | AAV: $17.3 million
Another player on this list of highest-paid CBs coming off a major injury is Tre’Davious White. These past couple of years, the Bills have invested heavily in the CB position, and White is the figurehead of that investment. His contract is worth $69 million over the four-year extension, with cap hits carrying an average of just below $16 million per year.
That starts this season with a $16.4 million number, including a $9.95 million salary. Buffalo has already used an option bonus and a restructure. This could be a deal we see shift around a little again in the next couple of offseasons.
6) Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins | AAV: $18 million
Xavien Howard’s contract seems to change on an almost yearly basis at this point. Following the main wave of free agency in 2022, Howard signed an extension that added another $50.691 million of new money to an already impressive contract.
While Howard’s extension was billed as a two-year, deal, it’s clear that the Dolphins, Howard, and the NFL as a whole are valuing his entire deal as a five-year, $90 million pact. That’s still an impressive average annual value, but it only places him fifth on the list of the league’s highest-paid CBs. Had we accounted only for his new money, Howard would rank first.
5) Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens | AAV: $19.5 million
Marlon Humphrey comes in fourth on the highest-paid cornerbacks list. The versatile cornerback also spent time on injured reserve in 2021 and will need to bounce back strongly. His cap hit more than doubles to $17.45 million in 2022 and only goes up from here.
Over the next five years, Humphrey’s cap numbers range from $17.45 to $21.45 million. There’s also no realistic out in the deal until 2024 at the earliest. Thus, Baltimore will have their fingers crossed he bounces back well from injury.
4) Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints | AAV: $19.52 million
Marshon Lattimore enters in at No. 3 on this list of highest-paid CBs. The highly-regarded Saints cornerback is set to take home close to $100 million over the course of five years. At signing, the deal contained $34.1 million in guarantees and can climb as high as $58.1 million.
In 2022, Lattimore will carry the highest cap number for the NFL position at $27.45 million. With his cap number sitting between $17.85 million and $21.35 million in the four years, it would be no surprise to see the Saints restructure the deal this year. There is a juicy $15 million roster bonus and $9.1 million in base salary that could see a restructure if the Saints are so inclined.
3) Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams | AAV: $20 million
Jalen Ramsey has long been considered the premier CB in the league and was paid as such. The Rams will feel the brunt of Ramsey’s contract in the next four years. His cap number in 2022 is $23.2 million and averages out at over $24 million per year in those next four seasons. It’s likely we will see this contract restructured a couple of times, with void years added. However, with a realistic out in 2024, LA may decide to ride out the next two seasons if they envisage themselves moving on then.
2) Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns | AAV: $20.1 million
The Browns made Denzel Ward one of the league’s highest-paid corners in mid-April, inking him to a five-year extension worth $100.5 million. Ward, entering his age-25 campaign, barely beats out Ramsey on a deal that will keep him in Cleveland through 2027. He’ll receive $71.25 million guaranteed, which is also just ahead of Ramsey ($71.203 million).
Depending on how the contract is structured, Ward is a candidate to have his pact reworked for salary cap space over the next several years. The Browns now have four players — Ward, Deshaun Watson, Myles Garrett, and Amari Cooper — with average annual values of at least $20 million.
Who is the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL?
Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers | AAV: $21 million
Jaire Alexander is the NFL’s new highest-paid corner after signing a four-year, $84 million extension with the Packers in May. He joins Ward and Ramsey as the only CBs to eclipse the $20 million/year threshold, and his $30 million signing bonus is also a new record for cornerbacks.
A first-round pick in 2018, Alexander was set to play on his fifth-year option in 2022. Now, he’s under contract through the 2026 campaign. Given that Green Bay is projected to be in the bottom half of teams in terms of available cap space over the next three years, Alexander will likely be a candidate for restructures down the line.