The landscape of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the NFL took a dramatic shift during the 2020 season. Who is the highest-paid OT in the NFL, and which other offensive tackles round out the top 10 at the position?
The highest-paid offensive tackles in the NFL | 6-10
Which offensive tackles sit in the bottom half of the top 10 when it comes to average annual value (AAV)?
10) D.J. Humphries, Arizona Cardinals | AAV: $14.75 million
Humphries will enter the 2021 season as the highest-paid among offensive tackles in terms of salary cap number. He was behind only Jake Matthews with a 2021 cap number of $19.9 million. However, Matthews restructured his deal heading into the new league year, leaving Humphries atop the list.
The reason for the large cap number for Humphries this season is because he counted just $5.7 million against the cap in 2020. This was due to a restructure ahead of the 2020 season, which converted $10.59 million of his base salary in 2020 into a signing bonus. With his $15.1 million base salary guaranteed for 2021, it would cost the Cardinals $23.76 million in dead money to release him.
9) Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions | AAV: $14.9 million
Decker signed his five-year contract extension ahead of the 2020 season. The deal is worth $59.65 million, with an AAV just below $15 million. His contract contained $29 million fully guaranteed at signing; another $8.5 million will become guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.
On March 21, Decker will receive a $12 million option bonus. This option bonus makes it difficult for the Lions to move on from Decker until at least 2023. Releasing Decker after 2021 would leave $15.75 million in dead money for the Lions.
8) Nate Solder, New York Giants | AAV: $15.5 million
Solder will be the fifth-highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL in terms of cap number. Solder’s cap number will be $16.5 million. This is due to Solder restructuring his deal in 2019. Additionally, Solder opted out of the 2020 season, which means the 2021 season is the third year of his deal instead of the final year. Solder counted $5.6 million against the Giants cap in 2020 despite not playing. He had a $3 million roster bonus and $2.5 million in restructure bonus.
The Giants could potentially get out of Solder’s deal this offseason. Releasing Solder would save the Giants $6 million in salary cap space while leaving $10.5 million in dead money. In addition, after the 2021 season, the Giants could save $14 million in cap space in 2022 by releasing Solder.
7) Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans | AAV: $16 million
When he signed his deal, Taylor Lewan topped the list of highest-paid OTs in the NFL. Lewan’s five-year contract extension was worth $80 million, at an average of $16 million per year. 2021 will be the third year of the deal and marks a significant milestone for the Titans.
There are no more guarantees remaining on the deal for the Titans. Therefore, Tennessee can release him with limited dead money at any point between now and the end of the deal. Lewan will count a relatively modest $13.7 million against the Titans’ salary cap in 2021.
6) Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos | AAV: $17 million
During the 2020 NFL season, the Broncos and Bolles agreed to a four-year contract extension. The deal is worth $68 million — an average of $17 million per year. 2021 will be the first official year of Bolles’ extension. However, Bolles will count just $5 million against the Broncos’ salary cap in 2021. Those cap numbers will jump to $21 million, $18 million, and $20 million, respectively, in the next three years.
At signing, $21 million was fully guaranteed — $20 million came in a signing bonus, with a $1 million base salary in 2021. On the fifth day of the 2021 league year, another $17 million in base salary in 2022 will become fully guaranteed.
The highest-paid offensive tackles in the NFL | 2-5
Which offensive tackles make up the top five in terms of the highest-paid at the position?
5) Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles | AAV: $18 million
Johnson ranks as the highest-paid among offensive tackles who play on the right side of the line. Johnson has been a long-term part of an Eagles offensive line that has garnered a lot of respect in the past decade. After agreeing to a contract extension in 2019, Johnson still has five years remaining on his current deal. The four-year extension was worth $72 million at $18 million per year.
In 2021, Johnson will count $17.8 million against the cap. His cap number varies between $14.1 million in 2022 and $21.3 million in 2023. It would not be a surprise to see the Eagles shift some of his salary in 2021 into 2022 to reduce that cap number this year.
4) Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens | AAV: $19.75 million
Stanley signed a new deal during the 2020 season. At the time of signing the deal, he was only behind Houston Texans LT Laremy Tunsil in terms of highest-paid OTs. His five-year contract extension is worth $98.75 million, with an AAV of $19.75 million.
In 2021, Stanley will count $15.25 million against the Ravens’ salary cap. In terms of guarantees, Stanley received $22.5 million in signing bonus and has a further $17 million guaranteed in terms of base salaries in 2021 and 2022.
3) Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texans | AAV: $22 million
Entering the final year of his deal in 2020, Tunsil and the Texans agreed to a three-year contract extension. The contract extension is worth $66 million. The extension made Tunsil the highest-paid OT in the league heading into the 2020 NFL season.
Tunsil’s extension contained $40 million in fully guaranteed money, with a further $10 million in base salary for 2022 becoming fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2021 league year. This deal should keep Tunsil in Houston until at least 2023, at which point the Texans will have an opportunity to move on from the deal.
2) David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers | AAV: $23 million
During the 2020 NFL season, OT David Bakhtiari became the highest-paid player among offensive tackles in the NFL. The Packers left tackle signed a four-year contract extension worth $92 million. The deal contained a $30 million signing bonus, which was all that was guaranteed in the contract.
Bakhtiari was due to count around $19 million against the Packers’ salary cap in 2021. However, following a contract restructure, he will count $11 million against the cap in 2021. Those cap numbers will rise to $22.8 million in 2022, before going to $26.3 million and $30.3 million in the final two years of the deal.
With Bakhtiari having signed this deal at age 30, a contract of similar value will likely be the target for Trent Williams when free agency begins on March 17, potentially leading him to be the highest-paid OT in the future.
Who is the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL?
1) Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers | AAV: $23.01 million
The 49ers and Trent Williams reportedly agreed to a six-year deal worth $138.06 million in the early hours of March 17. Of that $55.1 million is guaranteed, with a $30.1 million signing bonus. Williams just becomes the highest-paid among offensive tackles in terms of AAV and signing bonus.
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