Highest-paid edge rushers entering 2023 NFL season, guaranteed money and total contract value

Some of the NFL's other edge rushers are going to look affordable in comparison to what Nick Bosa will soon earn from the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers edge Nick Bosa
San Francisco 49ers edge Nick Bosa / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

With the 49ers looking to make Nick Bosa the highest-paid defender in NFL history, what are some of the league's other top edge rushers earning?

The San Francisco 49ers are (hopefully) on the verge of making All-Pro edge Nick Bosa the highest-paid non-quarterback in the history of the NFL.

Bosa, who is holding out from Niners training camp until he receives his new contract, should easily surpass $30 million, annually, and it wouldn't be a surprise whatsoever to see him take home an average of $35 million per year.

For those who aren't counting, that's a lot.

San Francisco will have to get creative with its salary cap management, yes. But it also helps to understand what the current market on top-tier edge rushers is right now, and it's one that has some recent influences that ultimately led to the reigning Defensive Player of the Year being in a position to command such high dollar value.

Here are the other top edge-rusher contracts going in the NFL right now.

Note: All contractual information, courtesy of Over the Cap.

Top edge rusher contracts in the NFL entering 2023 season

Bosa is currently set to earn $17.859 million, fully guaranteed, on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract signed not long after the 49ers drafted him at No. 2 overall back in 2019.

But Bosa's average annual value was $8.39 million over those five years, which is awfully cheap in contrast to what top-dollar outside pass-rushers would make, including his own brother, Joey Bosa, of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The elder Bosa, who shares the same agent as Nick Bosa in Brian Ayrault, got his massive pay increase and is currently the No. 2 highest-paid edge rusher, in terms of average annual value ($27 million).

Let's look at the 10 highest-paid edge defenders, shall we?



Total Contract Value

Average per Year

Guaranteed Money

T.J. Watt





Joey Bosa





Myles Garrett





Maxx Crosby





Khalil Mack





Bradley Chubb





Trey Hendrickson





Von Miller





Cameron Jordan





Harold Landry





In terms of annual average value, it might seem odd that Bosa would want to command something in the range of $35 million per season, which would be a significant leap from Watt's position-leading $28 million.

However, much of this stems from Los Angeles Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald's recent contract reworking that earns him an average of $31.67 million per season.

Understandably, Bosa will want to earn more than that amount.

Read more: When do the 49ers start worrying about Nick Bosa contract talks?

Another element to consider is the guaranteed money, which contract experts say is what truly matters. Not the total contract amount or yearly value.

With Ayrault negotiating Joey Bosa's deal to have over 57 percent of the total value as guaranteed money, it'll likely be that Nick Bosa's contract will have a similar percentage that's fully guaranteed, too.

And that may create some difficulty for the 49ers, who don't typically like to overbid on the guaranteed money.

For Bosa, however, it might be a necessity.

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