Salary: $22,300,000, 16th in the NFL
Comparable NBA salary: LaMarcus Aldridge’s $22,347,015, 39th in the NBA
Prior to the start of last season, Mack dominated headlines because the Oakland Raiders traded him to the Chicago Bears instead of paying him. The Bears (and other teams) were happy to part with a bunch of draft picks and give Mack the large extension he was seeking. In fact, they made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, with $90 million in guaranteed salary over six years. That’s where this $22.3 million salary comes from, and Mack has been worth every penny. Chicago has arguably the best defense in the NFL and they increased their win total from five to 12 last season. Football Reference has a metric called Approximate Value that measures a player’s impact to their team and Mack was ranked sixth among all NFL players. His closest NBA comparison, Aldridge, is a perennial All-Star who is having a very good season for the San Antonio Spurs. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert ($22,741,573) earns slightly more, but he is perhaps a better overall comparison since he also has the ability to wreak havoc on defense and single-handedly alter a team’s offensive game-plan.