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T.J. Watt and the 10 highest-paid defensive players in the NFL

T.J. Watt and the 10 highest-paid defensive players in the NFL

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Breaking the record as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, here’s how T.J. Watt stacks up against the top ten highest-paid defensive players.

September 9 didn’t just kick off the NFL season — it also kicked off T.J. Watt’s future in Pittsburgh with a landmark contract extension.

According to Ian Rapaport, the four-year contract extension is worth more than $112 million, or $28.003 million per year. The extension make Watt the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

With the elite linebacker now getting his due, he now joins the ranks of the top 10 highest-paid defensive players according to Spotrac.

Highest-paid defensive players in the NFL

10. Matt Judon, New England Patriots OLB

Cash Earned in 2021: $19,823,529

 

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9. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams DT
Cash Earned in 2021: $19,892,000

 

8. Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals DE
Cash Earned in 2021: $19,976,471

 

7. Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB
Cash Earned in 2021: $20,000,000

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6. Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks SS
Cash Earned in 2021: $21,000,000

 

5. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs DT
Cash Earned in 2021: $21,500,000

 

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4. Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns DE
Cash Earned in 2021: $21,684,000

 

3. Leonard Williams, New York Giants DE
Cash Earned in 2021: $26,000,000

 

2. Jonathan Allen, Washington Football Team DT
Cash Earned in 2021: $31,142,235

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1. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

We don’t have the specific details, but Watt’s deal does make him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, per Rapoport.

Watt technically doesn’t make the 2021 list because he only earns $10 million this season, but next season, he’ll take home $28 million. Already, the NFL’s arguably best linebacker gets $80 million guaranteed upon signing the contract, a hefty investment from a team who hopes invoke the Steel Curtain spirit.

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