Buccaneers On Track to Make Winfield Highest-Paid NFL Safety: Report

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on track to make Antoine Winfield Jr. the highest-paid safety in the NFL, according to a post on X from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Winfield Jr. had the franchise tag placed on him by the Buccaneers on March 5, which would pay him $17.1 million in 2024.

“Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tee Higgins are the last two remaining players to be franchised this off-season not to land a long-term deal,” Schefter wrote. “Winfield have been working towards a new deal that would make him the NFL’s highest-paid safety and there is optimism it will get done, per sources. The NFL’s highest paid safety is currently Chargers’ Derwin James at $19M per year.”

Antoine Winfield Jr. Has Delivered Big for Bucs

Antoine Winfield Jr. was the Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year for Minnesota in 2019 and has been one of the NFL’s best safeties since the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.

“Winfield isn’t a star but he’s a quality building block with the toughness and intelligence to help fortify the back end,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft evaluation of Winfield Jr.

As a rookie, Winfield Jr. started all 16 regular-season games and had 18 tackles, 2 pass deflections, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble in three postseason games as Tampa Bay won its second Super Bowl.

Winfield Jr. made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021. He earned first-team NFL All-Pro  honors for the first time in 2023 after starting all 17 games and finishing with career highs in tackles (122), sacks (6.0), pass deflections (12), interceptions (3) and leading the NFL with 6 forced fumbles.

Winfield Jr. is also a second-generation NFL player. His father, Antoine Winfield Sr., was a first-round pick by the Buffalo Bills out of Ohio State in 1995 and played 14 seasons in the NFL, making three Pro Bowls and being named NFL All-Pro in 2008.

Who Are NFL’s Highest-Paid Safeties?

Based on total contract value, James is the highest-paid safety in the NFL after he signed a 4-year, $76.5 million contract extension with the Chargers in Aug. 2022.

Following James are Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (4 years, $73.6 million), Baltimore Ravens safety Marcus Williams (5 years, $70 million),  Green Bay Packers safety Xavier McKinney (4 years, $67 million) and Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III (4 years, $64.02 million).

Fitzpatrick and Williams received their new deals in 2022, Bates in 2023 and McKinney in 2024.

James also has the largest amount of guaranteed money in his contract at $42 million.

Winfield Jr.’s rookie contract was for 4 years and $7.3 million. The Buccaneers had until July to sign Winfield Jr. to a new contract.

“Buccaneers officially are placing their franchise tag on S Antoine Winfield Jr.,” Schefter wrote in a post on X on March 5, “but really as a placeholder until the two sides can hammer out a long-term deal that they continue to work on and want to get done, per sources.


Read More