Aidan Hutchinson hasn’t played a single NFL snap but already sits ahead of several elite defensive linemen and behind only one defensive lineman in one critical area: cash.
Eleven days after he was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Aidan Hutchinson agreed to a four-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $35.7 million, approximately two-thirds of which is due in his first season, making him one of the highest-paid NFL players before playing a game.
By total cash, here are the highest-paid NFL defensive linemen for 2022:
Highest-Paid NFL Defensive Linemen: Salary Rankings, 2022
|1||Aaron Donald||Rams||$31.5 million|
|2||Aidan Hutchinson||Lions||$23.9 million|
|3||Chris Jones||Chiefs||$22.4 million|
|4||Kayvon Thibodeaux||Giants||$20.7 million|
|5||Danielle Hunter||Vikings||$19.7 million|
|6(t)||Leonard Williams||Giants||$19 million|
|6(t)||Myles Garrett||Browns||$19 million|
|8||Grady Jarrett||Falcons||$18 million|
|9||Emmanuel Ogbah||Dolphins||$17.4 million|
|10||Maxx Crosby||Raiders||$16.9 million|
1. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald could’ve walked away with a Super Bowl ring and more than $97 million in career earnings. Instead, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year signed a new three-year, $95-million contract, all of which is guaranteed.
Aaron Donald career earnings: $97,114,238
2. Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions
Hutchinson’s $23.2-million signing bonus is evenly spread against the Detroit Lions’ cap over the four years – $5.8 million each year – but the entirety is due in 2022.
That amount accounts for nearly his entire cash number. The remainder is $705,000 in base salary.
Aidan Hutchinson career earnings: $0
3. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
For four years after entering the NFL as a second-round pick, Chris Jones was offensively underpaid; he earned a total of $6.2 million from 2016-19. Even with $37.7 million in cash earnings the last two seasons since signing a four-year, $80-million deal, he might still be underpaid.
Chris Jones career earnings: $43,882,291
4. Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants
All of Kayvon Thibodeaux’s four-year, $31.3-million rookie contract is guaranteed. After earning $20.7 million in 2022 – only $705,000 of which is base salary – the No. 5 overall pick will drop to $2.1 million in 2023, $3.5 million in 2024, and $5 million in 2025.
Despite Thibodeaux’s arrival, the Giants don’t sit alongside the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Super Bowl favorites in NFL betting.
Kayvon Thibodeaux career earnings: $0
5. Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings
Since signing a four-year, $72-million extension in June 2018 after registering 25.5 sacks over his first three NFL seasons, Hunter has had two sensational years (2018-19), one lost year (2020) and one-half sensational year (2021).
In the penultimate year of the contract that included $40 million in guarantees, the former third-round pick has a dead cap of nearly $30 million. That plummets to $5.4 million in 2023.
Danielle Hunter career earnings: $54,864,477
6(t). Leonard Williams, New York Giants
Leonard Williams made $26 million in total cash in 2021 as the second-highest-paid defensive lineman. One year later, he’s still doing okay; he’s scheduled to earn $19 million in the second year of a three-year, $63-million contract that includes massive cap hits in 2022 ($27.3 million) and 2023 ($26.3 million).
Leonard Williams career earnings: $75,008,445
6(t). Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
For the first time since 2019 – and just the third time in his six-years career – Myles Garrett has a cash number below $20 million.
Garrett is in the first year of a five-year, $125-million contract signed before the 2020 season. Exactly $100 million of his deal is guaranteed.
Myles Garrett career earnings: $68,274,426
8. Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons
Grady Jarrett averaged $956,000 in total cash over his first four seasons after a fifth-round selection in the 2015 draft.
Over the last four seasons (including 2022), Jarrett is averaging $17.4 million in total cash.
Grady Jarrett career earnings: $55,389,675
9. Emmanuel Ogbah, Miami Dolphins
Emmanuel Ogbah’s contract might be $65 million over four years, but it could easily become just $32.7 million over two years.
His dead cap is $32 million in 2022 and $21 million in 2023 before falling off a cliff to $4 million in 2024.
Emmanuel Ogbah career earnings: $21,686,030
10. Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders
Maxx Crosby is still one year away from playing under a four-year, $94-million contract, but the former fourth-round pick is making big money now.
After earning just $850,000 last year, Crosby is due nearly $17 million in 2022.
Maxx Crosby career earnings: $3,267,315
NFL Betting Odds at BetMGM
BetMGM is the premier destination for NFL betting odds throughout the season.
Whether you’re a new bettor checking out weekly spreads, a casual fan tracking live NFL betting odds, or a longtime football building moneyline parlays, and more there’s something for everyone at the best online sportsbook.
Check out the sportsbook this season to get closer to the action on the field!