Bucs Make Antoine Winfield Jr. Highest-Paid DB in NFL History: Report

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made safety Antoine Winfield Jr. the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history, according to a post on X from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on May 13.

“Antoine Winfield Jr. is now the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history after he and the Bucs reached agreement on a 4-year, $84.1M deal, per sources,” Schefter wrote. “It’s the first time in modern NFL history that a safety has set this mark.”

Winfield was a second-round pick (No. 45 overall) by the Buccaneers in the 2020 NFL Draft and quickly established himself as one of the best in the league at his position.

Winfield received the franchise tag from the Buccaneers in the offseason, which would have paid him $17.1. million in 2024.

Winfield Jr. Earns All-Pro Status in 2023

Winfield Jr. started all 16 games as a rookie for Tampa Bay in 2020 with 94 tackles, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles during the regular season.

In the playoffs, he took his game to another level as the Buccaneers won their second Super Bowl in franchise history, with 18 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 2 pass deflections in 3 postseason games.

Winfield Jr.’s lone postseason interception in 2020 came in the Super Bowl while covering Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Winfield also famously flashed Hill’s trademark peace sign at him after a fourth-down incompletion.

Winfield Jr. earned his first Pro Bowl honor in 2021 despite missing four games with injury and in 2023 established himself as arguably the NFL’s best safety after he started all 17 games and had career highs for tackles (122), pass deflections (12), interceptions (3) and led the NFL with 6 forced fumbles.

Winfield Jr. was named first-team NFL All-Pro in 2023. The Buccaneers have advanced to the postseason in each of his four seasons.

With his new deal, Winfield Jr. becomes the fourth NFL defensive back to pass the $20 million mark in average annual salary following Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers ($21 million), Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns ($20 million) and Jalen Ramsey of the Miami Dolphins ($20 million).

Second-Generation NFL Superstar Following Father

Longtime NFL fans knew Antoine Winfield Jr. initially as the son of former NFL star cornerback Antoine Winfield Sr., who played 14 seasons for three teams.

Winfield Sr. was an NFL All-Pro for Minnesota Vikings in 2008 and was also a three-time Pro Bowler, all with the Vikings. Before that, Winfield Sr. was a Big Ten star, just like his son, but at Ohio State, where he won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top collegiate defensive back in 1998.

Winfield Sr. was named to the 50 Greatest Vikings of all time list in 2010 and in 13 seasons in the NFL, Winfield Sr. made $57.3 million in career earnings.

Winfield Jr., who will turn 26 years old in August, will make an average of $21 million per season over the next four years after signing a 4-year, $7.3 million contract as a rookie.

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