Who Are the Highest-Paid Defensive Tackles in the NFL in 2024?

Who are the top 10 highest-paid defensive tackles in the NFL ahead of the 2024 season, and who sits atop the list in terms of average annual value?

The NFL’s defensive tackle landscape underwent a seismic change during the 2024 offseason.

Aaron Donald retired, giving up his status as the best and highest-paid D-tackle in the league. Meanwhile, some of the game’s other top D-tackles cashed in, including a superstar who now owns the No. 1 spot.

So, who is the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL, and which DTs make up the remainder of the top 10?

The Highest-Paid Defensive Tackles in the NFL

Note: We’re using average annual salary (AAV) to determine these rankings, with all salary figures provided by Over The Cap.

10) Leonard Williams, Seattle Seahawks | AAV: $21.5 million

The Giants traded Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks last season, and Seattle was impressed enough to reward Williams with a new contract in March. The deal is worth $64.5 million over three years and includes $43.85 million in total guarantees.

Williams is scheduled to hit free agency in 2027.

T-8) Daron Payne, Washington Commanders | AAV: $22.5 million

The Washington Commanders signed Payne to a four-year, $90 million contract last offseason. The massive deal includes $60 million guaranteed, $46 million of which was guaranteed at signing. Payne’s cap number will skyrocket to $21.6 million in 2024 before hitting $26.1 million in 2025.

Payne is scheduled to hit free agency in 2027.

T-8) Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants | AAV: $22.5 million

Arguably the best interior defender in the NFL, Dexter Lawrence landed a four-year extension with the New York Giants last offseason worth $90 million ($46.5 million guaranteed). He can earn up to $1 million via per-game roster bonuses between 2024 and 2027.

Lawrence is scheduled to hit free agency in 2028.

7) DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts | AAV: $23 million

Like other defensive tackles on this list, DeForest Buckner saw a major payday this offseason.

The Indianapolis Colts rewarded Buckner with a two-year extension worth $46 million, including $43.25 million guaranteed. The deal reduced Buckner’s cap value in 2024 to just $8.3 million, but he’ll count $26.6 million against the cap in both 2025 and 2026.

Buckner is scheduled to hit free agency in 2027.

6) Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans | AAV: $23.5 million

Jeffery Simmons landed a four-year extension from the Tennessee Titans last year worth a whopping $90 million in new money. The deal includes $66 million in total guarantees and will see Simmons’ cap hit eclipse $21 million in each of the next four seasons.

Simmons is scheduled to hit free agency in 2028.

T-4) Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers | AAV: $24 million

Perhaps the most underrated defensive tackle in the NFL, Derrick Brown signed a four-year, $96 million extension with the Carolina Panthers this offseason. The deal includes $63.1 million guaranteed, including a $25 million signing bonus.

Brown is scheduled to hit free agency in 2029.

T-4) Quinnen Williams, New York Jets | AAV: $24 million

Quinnen Williams, one of the best defensive players in the league, signed a four-year, $96 million extension last offseason.

The New York Jets gave Williams $96 million, $66 million of which is guaranteed. Williams’ cap hit currently is set to reach $30.4 million in 2027.

Williams is scheduled to hit free agency in 2028.

3) Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens | AAV: $24.5 million

Justin Madubuike cashed in big time this offseason, landing a four-year contract from the Baltimore Ravens worth $98 million, including $70.5 million in total guarantees. His 2026 salary ($22 million) is guaranteed for injury.

Madubuike is scheduled to hit free agency in 2028.

2) Christian Wilkins, Las Vegas Raiders | AAV: $27.5 million

Everyone knew Christian Wilkins would get paid this offseason, but the contract he received from the Las Vegas Raiders still surprised many.

Las Vegas gave Wilkins a four-year, $110 million deal that includes $84.75 million guaranteed. Is Wilkins worth that? We’ll find out soon enough.

Wilkins is scheduled to hit free agency in 2028.

1) Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs | AAV: $31.75 million

Chris Jones was set to hit free agency this offseason, but the Kansas City Chiefs never let it get that far.

In March, Kansas City gave Jones a record-breaking five-year, $158.75 million contract that includes $95 million in guarantees.

Jones is scheduled to hit free agency in 2029.

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