2023 NFL Season: Who is the highest paid at each position?
Defensive line – Aaron Donald, $31.66 million, Quinnen Williams, $24 million, Jeffery Simmons, $23.5 million per year
I am going with three defensive linemen, two EDGE rushers, two inside linebackers, and four players in the secondary. Aaron Donald, Quinnen Williams, and Jeffery Simmons are the three highest paid players along the defensive line in the NFL.
They all deserve every penny, especially Donald, who might be the best defensive player of all time. Both Williams and Simmons are key pieces on their respective defenses. Games in the NFL are won in the trenches, so having a talented DL is crucial.
EDGE – TJ Watt, $28.002 million, Joey Bosa, $27 million per year
The two highest-paid EDGE rushers in the NFL are TJ Watt and Joey Bosa. However, some may argue that these are not the top two at this position. I think the two best pass rushers in the NFL at this point are Nick Bosa, the reigning defensive player of the year, and Myles Garrett, who is simply consistent year in and year out.
Watt was injured this year and did not light up the stat sheet like he normally does, but his running mate, Alex Highsmith, was a sack-master in 2022 and recently signed a contract extension, perhaps making that duo the best in the league ahead of the 2023 NFL season.
Inside linebacker – Roquan Smith, $20 million, Shaquille Leonard, $19.7 million per year
I would personally never pay this much per year for an inside linebacker, but the elite ones in the NFL do have a huge impact on their defenses. Roquan Smith recently signed this contract extension to make him the highest paid ILB in the NFL, but I do think Fred Warner is probably the best. Warner’s contract is worth $19.045 million per year, which ranks third.
Other ILBs who have signed deals this offseason include Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards, who both signed with the Chicago Bears.