Discover the Highest Paid NFL Defensive Players
|Date & Time||Monday May 5, 2014, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
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Happy draft week, y’all! We’re just four days away from finding out whose names we’re going to be yelling for the next ten years or so. With several defensive guys, including Jadaveon Clowney and Khalil Mack, slated to go early this year, I thought we’d look at the highest paid defensive players in the league heading into the 2014 season. Last year, Seattle proved just how important a solid D really is, so it’s not surprising to see some big numbers on this list.
1. St. Louis Rams DE Chris Long is slated to make $13,200,000 this year. Long has spent his entire career thus far with the Rams and racked-up 8.5 sacks in 2013 alone.
2. The Carolina Panthers slapped the franchise tag on DE Greg Hardy early in the off-season. Hardy will make $13,116,000 in 2014. With 15 sacks and 59 tackles last year, the Panthers knew they couldn’t let such an integral piece of their D get away (an especially smart choice after they let nearly all of their receiving corps go….gotta keep someone on the roster).
3. 6’4, 300 pound Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy will take hime $12,732,253 during the upcoming season. McCoy’s size (combined with his 9.5 sacks and 50 tackles last year) makes him a welcome holdover on Lovie Smith’s revamped Buccaneers squad.
4. It’s no surprise that infamous Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh is on this list. Suh is one of the most feared players in all of the NFL. Suh is set to earn $12,550,000 in 2014, but there have been (much denied) rumors that the Lions are willing to deal him due to the salary cap hit they’re taking by keeping him around. We’ll be waiting with bated breath…
5. If there was one thing the Washington Redskins didn’t want to do this off-season, it was let OLB Brian Orakpo go (this was, of course, before they even knew they wanted to sign WR DeSean Jackson…) At the beginning of the free agency period, the ‘Skins placed the franchise tag on Orakpo; he’ll make $11,455,000 in 2014. Not half bad, I’d say.
6. Former Ohio State superstar, LB James Laurinaitis, has been with the St. Louis Rams since he began his pro career in 2009. Laurinaitis had 2 interceptions and 116 tackles in 2013, which makes his upcoming $10,000,000 payout seem warranted.
7. OLB Jason Worilds has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers since he was drafted in 2010. Worilds had 8 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 2013. The Steelers will pay him $9,754,000 to keep it up during the fast-approaching 2014 season.
8. Another Carolina Panthers DE, Charles Johnson, is also worth big bucks to the organization. Johnson racked-up 11 sacks in 2013. The Panthers are set to pay Johnson $8,750,000 when the season rolls around.
9. Baltimore Ravens DT Haloti Ngata had 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2013. These aren’t the best numbers Ngata has put up during his career, but his 6’4, 340 pound frame brings exceptional size to the Ravens D. Ngata will earn a grand total of $8,500,000 in 2014.
10. Kansas City S Eric Berry (the only S on this list, you will note) will make $8,417,000 in 2014. Berry is just 25, so he has a lot of good years left. During the 2013 season, Berry had an impressive 3 interceptions, 74 tackles, and a forced fumble.