As the old saying goes, “defences win championships.” That’s been the case for many years now in the NFL. Defences are the backbone of any good football team. They support the offense and make it their job to maintain the lead, or stop the other team when trailing. Just look at the 1985 Chicago Bears, arguably the most prolific defense in the history of the NFL. The Bears were already loaded with running back Walter Payton on offense. With the dominant performance put up by the team’s defense, the Bears blew through the rest of the NFL and eventually trampled the New England Patriots 46-10 in the Super Bowl.
The 2000 Baltimore Ravens had a similar season when they made their Super Bowl run. Lead by a young Ray Lewis, that Ravens defense supported a mediocre passing attack and often took the game into their own hands, ranking first in points allowed with only 165 total for the year.
In recent years, the NFL has evolved, putting greater emphasis on the passing game. Nowadays people want to see defenses fail. Having to put up with tight ends that can stretch the field and running backs like Adrian Peterson is a tough job to handle, but many teams have managed. Since 2007, the losing team in the Super Bowl has scored an average of 22 points. That’s roughly three touchdowns allowed by the opposing defense. This indicates that defenses are still doing their jobs keeping the opposing offenses in check with some of the biggest names in the NFL take their place on the D-Line or in the Secondary.
Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith put up 20.5 and 19.5 sacks last season, respectively. When their rookie contracts are over they’re sure to have huge deals coming their way. Until then, here are the top 10 highest-paid defensive players in the NFL today.
10. Randy Starks – Miami Dolphins – Defensive Tackle – $8.45 Million
Randy Starks has been a solid player for the Dolphins since he signed a five-year, $21 million contract with the team back in 2008. Starks is a big boy who has shifted from nose tackle in the team’s old 3-4 scheme to defensive tackle in the Dolphins’ new 4-3 system. Since joining the Phins in 08 he’s put up 25 sacks and 191 tackles in five and a half years with the team. The defensive tackle is the anchor that drives the whole defensive line. It’s Starks’ job to fill the gaps in the running game and to collapse the pocket in the passing game. Playing a position where rushing the passer is a secondary task, Starks has earned his paycheck averaging 4.5 qb takedowns since joining Miami.