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The NFL's all-time sacks leaders

Profile Picture: Jeremy Jones

August 31st, 2021

Know which defenders have the most sacks in NFL history? Find out who ranks in the top 10 since sacks became an official stat in 1982, and learn more about their other major career milestones.

10. John Randle (TIE)

Career sacks: 137.5
Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks
Years active: 1990-2003

John Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro six times. The years between 1993 and 1998 were his prime, as he averaged 12.5 sacks per season in that span.

10. Richard Dent (TIE)

Career sacks: 137.5
Teams: Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles
Years active: 1983-1997

Dent won the 1985 Super Bowl MVP and made four Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro once. Between 1984 and 1993, he averaged 12.0 sacks per season. In the 1985 Super Bowl, Dent had two sacks and two forced fumbles to earn the MVP honors.

9. DeMarcus Ware

Career sacks: 138.5
Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos
Years active: 2005-2016

DeMarcus Ware was an absolute terror for offenses to deal with during his career as an outside linebacker. He made nine Pro Bowls and four First Team All-Pro squads. In 2008, he became one of only 11 players to record 20+ sacks in a single season. Ware averaged 14.5 sacks per season between 2006 and 2012.

8. Terrell Suggs

Career sacks: 139.0
Teams: Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs
Years active: 2003-2019

"T-Sizzle" was a defensive menace from his first year in the league until his retirement. Suggs won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He made seven Pro Bowls and was selected to one First Team All-Pro squad. Suggs never had more than 14.0 sacks in a season, but he was consistent over his entire career.

7. Jason Taylor

Career sacks: 139.5
Teams: Miami Dolphins, Washington Football Team, New York Jets
Years active: 1997-2011

Jason Taylor won the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Hall of Famer also made six Pro Bowls and three First Team All-Pro squads. In 2006, Taylor had an astounding nine forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two touchdowns to go with his 13.5 sacks. In 2002, he had a career-high 18.5 sacks.

6. Michael Strahan

Career sacks: 141.5
Team: New York Giants
Years active: 1993-2007

Michael Strahan is the only player on this list that played his entire career with one team. The longtime New York Giant still holds the single season sack record with 22.5 sacks in 2001. He was the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and made seven Pro Bowls and was named to four First Team All-Pro squads. Strahan got to go out on top with a Super Bowl victory over the undefeated New England Patriots in the final game of his career.

5. Chris Doleman

Career sacks: 150.5
Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers
Years active: 1985-1999

Chris Doleman had a monster year in 1989, when he went for 21.0 sacks and five forced fumbles. He made eight Pro Bowls and was selected to two First Team All-Pro squads. As a 37-year-old, Doleman managed to get 15.0 sacks for the 49ers in 1998. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

4. Julius Peppers

Career sacks: 159.5
Teams: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers
Years active: 2002-2018

Julius Peppers never had a season with more than 14.5 sacks, yet he still makes it all the way to fourth on this list due to his consistency over his lengthy career. He won the 2002 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and made nine Pro Bowls and was named First Team All-Pro three times. Peppers will find himself in the Hall of Fame once he is eligible.

3. Kevin Greene

Career sacks: 160.0
Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers
Years active: 1985-1999

Kevin Greene got off to a slow start in his career with only 13.5 sacks over his first three seasons in the league. However, he finished strong with double digit sacks in 10 of his final 12 seasons, including 15.0 sacks in 1998 as a 36-year-old. Greene made five Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

2. Reggie White

Career sacks: 198.0
Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers
Years active: 1985-2000

"The Minister of Defense" played almost the same years as our previous player on this list and completely overshadowed him. Reggie White won NFL Defensive Player of the Year 11 years apart in both 1987 and 1998. He made an unreal 13 Pro Bowls and was named to eight First Team All-Pro squads. White had 21.0 sacks in 1987 and is the only player in NFL history to have three seasons of 18+ sacks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

1. Bruce Smith

Career sacks: 200.0
Teams: Buffalo Bills, Washington Football Team
Years active: 1985-2003

The 1985 draft class has four of the top five all time sacks leaders, including the all-time leader, Bruce Smith. He won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both 1990 and 1996. He also made 11 Pro Bowls and was selected to eight First Team All-Pro squads. Smith had an amazing 13 seasons with double digit sacks, including 19.0 sacks in 1990. He also had 14.5 sacks in his playoff career.

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